Thank you participants, neighbors, passersby and onlookers! We just wrapped up a fantastic inaugural month of activities where we explored how to build empathy on our streets, expose and start conversations around shared values, and get people involved in re-making streets for the better.
The National Street Services believe that our needs and history are reflected in the street. Our streets are fundamentally connected to our sense of self. Unfortunately, not everyone experiences the street equally. In fact, the layout of many streets is hard-wired to support some people and modes over others. So we created a program that sought to awaken people who the street privileges, to the fact that that their needs are often met at the expense of others with less privilege, or to the detriment of our shared values for safe, livable, enjoyable places to be.
Our streets should be constantly changing places: the ability to adapt, accommodate, get reused and meet new needs as well as old ones, keeps a street valuable and useful. Great streets are forever being perfected. But what if you live on a street that’s changing, and you don’t feel good about that change? Or perhaps you desperately want to see change and it’s just not happening. How do we keep streets vibrant places that meet our needs today, while respecting our heritage and history and what made our streets great to begin with?
How many different ways can we value our city streets? There are things that immediately jump to mind, like the investment in a roadway, or the revenue the city receives from parking meters. And then there are more intangible values, like what a street tree contributes to the cleanliness of the air and water in the city, or what a bench gives to every individual who rests there.