Beginning in 1975, PPS worked on a wide variety of projects in Rockefeller Center. In 1975, a pilot project was conducted by PPS in Atlas Court to demonstrate how simple improvements to a public space - a circular bench and plantings - could dramatically change the use and enjoyment of a space. PPS' recommendation to add seating to the Channel Gardens transformed it into a lively, social space. In the late 1970's, PPS studied several problems that were hindering the economic potential of the underground shopping concourse. Improvements recommended by PPS, including a new comprehensive signage system, alternative retail facilities and amenities, were constructed.
In a 1988 project, PPS focused on finding ways to reduce congestion and maintain the holiday atmosphere expected by visitors who crowd the Channel Gardens and Esplanade during the Christmas holiday season. In the 1990's, PPS evaluated the little-used interior spaces and exterior plazas of four Rockefeller Center buildings in order to activate these spaces and improve the corporate image of the buildings.
In 1978, PPS recommended design and management improvements to the center's Exxon Mini-park, then an anonymous, impersonal space. The changes dramatically increased both the variety and number of park users, improved its public image, and helped to diminish the drug dealing that was occurring in the park.
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.”