The Key to Safe Streets: Five Cities Humanizing Street Design

Stuart Pertz

Jul 22, 2015
Jan 3, 2018

Stuart Pertz (1936-2015) was a long time friend of many members of the PPS team over the years as he helped shaped the discussion around place and Placemaking. In his long and celebrated career, he served on the NYC City Planning Commission, was a partner in HLW when it was one of the world's largest architecture firms, and was a civic leader and Professor of Architecture and Planning at Pratt Institute. More recently, he was working with David Burney, and our own Meg Walker, on preparations for the newly established Urban Placemaking and Management program in Pratt's Graduate Program in Planning - the first of its kind and truly a seminal achievement for him and the school.

John Shapiro, chair of Pratt's Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment and co-creator of the Placemaking program at Pratt, had this so say about Stuart and his approach to Placemaking: "Stu was particularly inspired about the role that Placemaking could play in mitigating the impact of the world-wide refugee crisis by creating a sense of place and fostering community in what are otherwise landscapes of housing barren of all civic life; and closer to home, for the merging of the arts (including performance) with Placemaking."

You can read more about Stuart's legacy here. You can also listen to Stuart talking about Placemaking in his own thoughtful, engaging, and passionate voice in an interview with PPS from 2013:


"Imagine an architectural office with someone who really understands how to manage a place, really understands what event-making means to a space adjacent to a building. That kind of sensitivity can change architecture significantly, and it would ultimately change it from the inside."

"Instead of looking at the big picture and finding out where the roads should go, how the topography requires basic disposition of land uses, or how activities require land use separation, we think first about who the people are, and what they need at the local level."

"My view is that Placemaking is much broader than the main street and the plaza and the marketplace and the waterfront. I think we need to begin to think about places as humble as hospital emergency rooms and waiting rooms, and the need for Placemaking in refugee camps and favelas… communal needs for spaces at every scale of building and urbanization. "


"We need to see Place as an essential support for a healthy society and not an architectural leftover.”

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The Key to Safe Streets: Five Cities Humanizing Street Design