The idea for Pocket Places didn’t just pop up out of nowhere! After seven years of working with residents to redesign their residential streets Sustrans took inspiration from New York and started looking at urban corridors. In the case of Rye Lane it’s a busy, squashed, traffic heavy high street, and it was about time it was made a bit more friendly for the people using it..
In New York the Mayor and the Highways department initially got together to reduce air pollution. They blocked off a couple of lanes of traffic in Times Square and created a temporary pedestrian plaza. Not only did this reduce air pollution by 60% but it also made the centre of New York human again.
Check out this blog post by Gehl Architects about livable Cities. http://gehlcitiesforpeople.dk/2010/10/27/broadway-blocking-off-highlighted-in-philips-livable-cities-award/
So when the clever people at Sustrans saw this, they thought this could be a good thing to do in lots of places, this could work in places like Rye Lane. Unfortunately we can’t block off Rye Lane and have a plaza all the way along it, but we can make use of the pockets of unused land along the sides of it.
Ok so the picture of New York above was when it was below freezing so not many humans there at the time! But what do you think? Would you consider sitting outside Peckham Plex with a book on a hot summers day?
Photography by Phillippa Banister