The Nation's first shopping center designed in 1922 and built by J.C. Nichols.
Pedestrian oriented shopping district made up of 1920's Spanish style architecture with towers, domes, iron and brick details, and public plazas filled with fountains and sculptures. It attracts 300,000 people for the lighting of the plaza Christmas lights (since 1925) on Thanksgiving Eve each year and holds an Easter parade and other public events.
Historic residential buildings are interwoven into the commercial so that it is an active and alive place. It attracts people from all walks of life. Parking is hidden under and behind buildings. The scale is definitely pedestrian. Details are exquisite! Brush Creek meanders through the Plaza with walkways on each side, with pedestrian bridges over it and tour boats along it. Transit serves the plaza, as well as the city's most prestigious boulevard, Ward Parkway (also designed and developed by JC Nichols).
Architecture, fountains, sculpture and people create Kansas City's premier urban space. People feel safe and refreshed here.
Pedestrians use sidewalks extensively. Sidewalk cafes, coffee houses, live music on various corners, plazas, and people from all walks of life abound. The adjacent Mill Creek Park along JC Nichols Parkway has become "the place" to jog, exercise, walk your dog or sun. The JC Nichols fountain is the city's "speaker's corner" with numerous political rallies and demonstrations.
The Plaza has become a tourist attraction as well as a gathering place where Kansas City residents take friends from out of town, etc. People, from homeless, art punks to Armani and Saks customers, to the city's "elite", interact here. It is the place Kansas Citians love to show off, to gather and to live, work, shop and dine.
Historic residential buildings on the Plaza are currently threatened with demolition due to intense development pressure. No preservation controls exist on the Country Club Plaza. The Park Lane apartments (built in 1925 by JC Nichols and designed by the George Post Firm, who designed the Wisconsin State Capitol and the New York Stock Exchange) are currently threatened with demolition and all residents have been evicted.
*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.
Many great public spaces have grown out of communities resisting development. It is the evolution from opposition to proactive visioning - helping to create, finance, and manage public spaces - that often makes the opposition successful. Congress Square, and the community around it, are forging this story of transformation.
Mayor Bill de Blasio caused quite a stir around New York City yesterday as he floated the idea of tearing up the pedestrian plaza in Times Square. This statement was the culmination of several days of debate centered around predatory panhandling and the square’s growing number of “street performers.”