Les boules roses

When the stretch of Ste. Catherine Street in Montreal’s Gay Village was pedestrianized for two and a half months in the summer of 2008, it was accompanied by a strange policy that forced the street’s bars and restaurants to serve only Labatt beer products on their outdoor terraces. Merchants were unhappy and for good reason: […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Canada, Public Space by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Les boules roses , , , , ,

Too Many Pedestrians, Not Enough Space

When Hong Kong urban planner Peter Cookson-Smith steps out of his office in Wan Chai, he doesn’t like what he sees. “You go out into the street and find yourself walking on the road because the pavements are so crowded,” he said. “People just want to walk in an unobstructed way, but there are railings […]

Those Grey Metal Fences

Sidewalk fences at a typical corner in Sham Shui Po, Kowloon Earlier this month, a pair of pedestrians tried to push their way through a crowd of people on Dundas Street, one of the most crowded streets in Hong Kong’s most crowded neighbourhood. One of them cast a withering glance on the grey metal fence […]

Summer Streets

Ste. Catherine Street. Photo by Kate McDonnell Two years ago, when Ste. Catherine Street in the Gay Village was pedestrianized for the summer, it was organized like a festival, with a corporate monopoly on outdoor beer sales and over-the-top decoration (and not in a fabulous way, just in a tacky commercial one). Even worse, the […]

Co-opting the Commercial Street

It’s hard to describe the sound of Sai Yeung Choi Street on a typical evening. It’s the echo of horns and sirens through the Mongkok canyons, the cacophony of video billboards and shop stereos. It’s the sound of sixteen thousand shoppers flocking each hour to the most crassly commercial of Hong Kong streets. But there’s […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Co-opting the Commercial Street , , , , ,

More Pedestrian Streets, Less Pollution

Hong Kong’s government has finally decided that sacrificing its air quality in favour of cars, buses and trucks isn’t such a good thing after all. Yesterday, in a somewhat surprising departure from its reluctance to make big plans, the government pledged to fight roadside air pollution by revamping the city’s vast bus network, planting more […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Environment, Politics, Public Space, Transportation by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on More Pedestrian Streets, Less Pollution , , , , , ,

It’s Car Free Day!

Today is Montreal’s fifth annual edition of Car Free Day, known officially (and awkwardly) as “In town, without my car!” The east end of the downtown core, between McGill College on the west and St. Urbain on the east, de Maisonneuve on the north and René Lévesque on the south, will be closed from 9:30am […]

Pedestrian Streets, Hong Kong Style

The volume of the crowds that descend on Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay every Sunday would generate chaos in most cities: Pedestrians would pour off overcrowded sidewalks and into the streets, snarling traffic. Police would scramble to either push people back or close the roads altogether. Nobody would quite know what to make of it. But […]

Sparks Street Blues

To Ottawans, the ongoing saga of Sparks Street is somewhat of a tragicomedy. The street, which runs parallel to Wellington Street just one block south of Parliament Hill, exists mostly as a pedestrian mall, with vehicular access limited from Kent Street in the West to Elgin Street in the East. During its prime from the […]