How should NYC manage the changing use of sidewalks and streetscapes?

Errol Louis, Distinguished Visiting Urbanist at NYU Wagner, political anchor of NY1 News, and host of Inside City Hall, moderated a special event titled The Future of Public Space in New York City on November 30, 2021. In partnership with The Century Foundation, this event focused on the use of New York City streets for something other than a thoroughfare for cars. Over several years New Yorkers have witnessed the transformation of streets into centers for public gathering and community. Whether it’s the development of new seating plazas in Times Square or the expansion of protected bike lanes in Brooklyn, it is clear that urban streets serve a multitude of purposes.

The use of streets as more than a means of transportation was especially visible during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. As indoor activities closed and social distancing became a vital element of everyday life, New York City restaurants extended their businesses to streets, sidewalks, and curbs to establish a new form of outdoor dining. The popularity and breadth of this outdoor setup signals it is likely to continue.

But this transformation of public space poses a critical question: how should it be managed? Watch the full recording as Gersh Kuntzman, Editor-in-Chief, Streetsblog New York, and Nicole Gelinas, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute, and Contributing Editor for City Journal, explore this important question and what it means for New York City.

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