When I was in Miami at the beginning of this month I missed an interesting event that I normally would have attended. It was a conversation between the Chief Planner of Toronto, Jennifer Keesmaat, and the former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, Janette Sadik-Khan.
Sadik-Khan was appointed under the Bloomberg administration and quite famously oversaw a huge number of urban changes in New York. Projects such as the addition of hundreds of kilometers of new bike lanes and the creation of 60 new pedestrian plazas across the city – including the one in Times Square.
I was bummed I couldn’t attend, but thankfully Keesmaat wrote a post on her blog following the event and the Metcalf Foundation shared videos of the conversation.
Here’s a piece that I liked from Keesmaat’s blog post:
“But she also pointed out that when they demonstrated what could be done, when they quickly mobilized around action, residents clamoured for similar changes in their neighbourhoods. Not surprisingly, this is why her book is called Streetfight – because it is a fight. City building is often the battle of ideologies, and when you’re trying to change the status quo, there is always a significant demographic of the population that is fully committed to maintaining business-as-usual.”
If you have some time, you can also click here to watch the videos. There’s about an hour and a half worth of video, so you might want to open up a bottle of wine or something.