Reclaiming your city – lessons from the transformation of NYC

Here’s an inspiring and interesting TED talk from Janette Sadik-Khan, the Transportation Commissioner of New York City, sharing her strategy for transforming urban areas into a place for people. In the space of five years, New York has been reclaimed by the people thanks to some bold moves in the area of transport and planning.

“We worked hard to refocus our agenda — to maximise efficient mobility, providing more room for buses, more room for bikes, more room for people to enjoy the city, and to make our streets as safe as they can be for everybody that uses them,” says Sadik-Khan.

                                Times Square, NY – Before and After

The program resulted in improvements in traffic, pedestrian safety, increased retail business and put NYC on the map as one of the new cycling capitals of the world.  It’s no wonder that other major cities in the US and abroad are following suit.  If NYC can pull this off, that should surely inspire others to think outside the [Times] Square and consider options that might seem improbable or even impossible.

Sadik-Khan’s strategy is simple: Set out a clear action plan with goals and benchmarks; then, move quickly with paint and temporary materials! “It doesn’t need to be a zero-sum game between moving traffic and creating public space.”

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