The whole world knows New York for its livable neighborhoods, excellent parks, first-rate cultural attractions, and seemingly inexhaustible supply of new places to explore. However, New York’s attractions are increasingly disconnected from each other. Large sections of the city’s pedestrian environment are now overwhelmed by traffic and sterile, anti-urban developments conceived by vanity designers.

Thankfully, change is in the air. Starting in 2005, PPS and our partners began laying the groundwork for exciting improvements to New York’s streets and public spaces. Building on the legacy of PPS’s earlier New York projects, like Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park, this new initiative takes our project work a step further into city-wide advocacy and change.

Early in 2006 we designed the Livable Streets Exhibit to kick off the NYC Streets Renaissance Campaign (NYCSR), a joint initiative with the Open Planning Project and Transportation Alternatives. The exhibit was displayed at the Municipal Art Society’s Urban Center and at the Condé Nast Building in Times Square.

Later that year we released the New York City Commentary, a bold public space agenda that includes our recommendations for Nine Ways to Transform New York into a City of Great Places.

Since then, PPS and our partners in the NYCSR have provided planning, design, and advocacy services to local communities challenged by traffic congestion and its negative consequences. In Manhattan these areas include Times Square, 9th Avenue, and Gansevoort Street.

While each neighborhood faces unique problems and opportunities, they share a common strength: the energy of local residents, activists and entrepreneurs, who infuse the city with life and constant change. PPS and the NYCSR tap into this passion through a combination of public workshops, technical assistance, surveys, blogs, listserves, video documentaries, community events and on-the-ground advocacy. Using these tools, we help communities define and promote their own visions for more livable streets and, ultimately, a more livable New York.

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