The Key to Safe Streets: Five Cities Humanizing Street Design

Announcing the PPS "Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper" Resource Page

May 4, 2015
Jan 8, 2018

There is growing momentum around getting “back to the basics” of what makes cities thrive, and the increasing success of “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper” (LQC) projects all over the world is proof that expensive and labor-intensive initiatives are not the only, or even the most effective, ways to bring energy and life into a community’s public spaces.

United under the core principles of community vision, cost-effectiveness, collaboration, and citizen-led change, this exciting movement goes by many names—action-planning, guerilla urbanism, pop-up projects, city repair, D.I.Y. Urbanism, and Tactical Urbanism. We see each of these efforts as important tools and catalysts for larger community-based Placemaking processes.

Jersey City's Grove Street Plaza, 2008. Before the launch of an LQC restoration project later that year, residents had little reason to linger in this lifeless public space. Photo by JC Downtown.
Grove Street Plaza, 2014. “Groove on Grove” is a free weekly series that brings live music, entertainment, and local vendors to the once lifeless PATH plaza. Photo by PPS.
‍The Historic Downtown Farmers Market at Grove PATH Plaza began in 2008 with fewer than 10 vendors. It has since grown into a thriving public market that runs every Monday and Thursday from May to December. Photo by JCDowntown

“Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper” is a phrase we borrowed from Eric Reynolds in 2010 to describe the simple, short-term, and low-cost solutions that are having remarkable impacts on the shaping of neighborhoods and cities. PPS began to chronicle many of these solutions in the 2007 book: The Great Neighborhood Book: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Placemaking. Since we began our work in 1975, we have used Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper interventions to address all kinds of public space challenges, and the impacts of these projects have been lasting and profound.

The LQC resource page will be home to an interactive and evolving set of new ideas and tools for turning public spaces within your community into quality shared places. The techniques are designed to generate visible results quickly, and at a cost that is amenable to the budget of any city or community.

Learn more about LQC, and explore the resource page here!

Yoga in Detroit's Belle Isle, 2014 | In partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, The Belle Isle Conservancy launched the Summer Saturdays program in 2013. Operating in partnership with local non-profits, businesses, corporations, and community group, the BLISS program offers yoga classes, tours of the island, kayak and bike rentals, food trucks, and more to local visitors. Photo by PPS.
Bryant Park Reading Room | Modeled after its 1935 counterpart, the Bryant Park Reading Room was recreated by the Bryant Park Corporation with the additions of moveable furniture, custom-designed book carts with an eclectic selection of books, and public readings and free public events for visitors of all ages. Photo by PPS.
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The Key to Safe Streets: Five Cities Humanizing Street Design