What is it? Roads and pavement cover a large portion of the land area in any given city. Many times, this land becomes useless to pedestrians and can often be quite dangerous. This kind of program takes a paved area that is currently being underutilized by vehicular traffic and turns it into a pedestrian plaza. This space then becomes a public area where families and individuals can gather. The plazas can be permanent or temporary, but either way they may help improve pedestrian safety, and contribute to the quality of life of local inhabitants.
How has it been used? New York City has 26 plazas in some form of production and expects 3 plazas to be implemented per year. These range from block long projects to something much smaller in size. However, they are all designed to improve the experience for people on the ground rather than those in their cars. The plazas usually include some type of seating to give people a chance to relax, and better enjoy the public spaces of their city. Some even resemble a food court with tables and umbrellas to encourage people to utilize this space. Additionally, there are often plantings that help make the area much more visually appealing and calming. Artwork and food establishments are present in other plazas. This has all helped create public space that makes life in this dense city more tolerable. (Source: New York City)