On the Road

Illustration of the future "Village Street" in Storrs Center.

Building a New Downtown – Part II

In part II of this posting, we take a closer look at how the Town of Mansfield, Connecticut worked with UConn and and a private developer to move forward on its new downtown, Storrs Center. Including some tips from some of the project participants.

Demolition of strip shopping plaza at Storrs Center.

Building a New Downtown – Part I

It’s not every day that university and town perspectives on a key issue are closely aligned. But that’s the case in the small town of Storrs, Connecticut, where the University of Connecticut and the Town of Mansfield both agree that what they really want an need is a new downtown center.

Building along Memorial Drive in West Hartford's Blue Back Square

We Don’t Let Planning Get in the Way: Pt. II

How did Blue Back Square get developed? West Hartford Community Services Director Rob Rowlson takes us on a tour of the development, and explains why the Town’s developer-friendly approach led to positive results.

Brick pavers line sidewalks in West Hartford Center

We Don’t Let Planning Get in the Way: Pt. I

Rob Rowlson, the Town of West Hartford’s Director of Community Services, makes no bones about it: too often planning can be an obstacle to private investment and development. In Part I of this post, Rowlson talks about efforts to strengthen the core of the town’s downtown: West Hartford Center.

Sign for classes at Billings Forge

Anchoring a Neighborhood

Close to Hartford’s “seats of power” — state government; insurance companies; and Trinity College; you’ll find Frog Hollow, a predominantly Latino neighborhood. It has a mix of walk-up apartments, neighborhood restaurants, stores, churches, and social clubs. But anchoring it is an innovative mixed-use development called Billings Forge.

view into Greeley Park in New York City

There’s a Good Story Here!

What would Horace Greeley, America’s most famous newspaper publisher and editor, think about the changes to the Manhattan square bearing his name — looking down from his bronze chair? Probably, “there’s a good story here!”

People enjoying new seating opportunities on Broadway in heart of Manhattan

Give My Regards to Broadway

One of the most remarkable sights in New York City these days is the transformation of Broadway in the Times Square district from a traffic-jammed artery to a car-free zone, where pedestrians reign. What’s behind this change?

Sitting on movable chairs

Please Be Seated!

We do it dozens of times a day. During nice weather, we often do it in the park. And we’re careful where we do it, often scouting out a location that seems just right for us to …. sit. But how much do planners and urban designers know about our backsides?

exercise for PPS project about Petrosino Square in New York City

Circling a Square

At the Project for Public Spaces our first assignment: spend an hour carefully observing activities in Petrosino Square and noting what we saw.

cover of Streets as Places handbook by Project for Public Spaces

Can a Street Be a Place?

This post’s title is the question that was at the heart of a fascinating two-day workshop organized by the Project for Public Spaces.

portion of map showing priority lakeshore projects in northwest Indiana

Planning for 46 Miles of Lakeshore

What is most striking along the 46 mile stretch of Indiana bordering Lake Michigan is the intermixing of natural beauty and heavy industry — primarily steel mills, transmission lines, and power plants. I learn about the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission’s plans for the lakeshore.