Times Square has undergone a remarkable transformation. After decades of proposals grappling with how best to handle the pedestrian congestion in Times Square, Snøhetta’s world-class design for the Broadway pedestrian plazas cleared out decades of old infrastructure cluttering the square while doubling the amount of pedestrian space in what had been a notoriously crowded vehicular district. This discussion will look at Times Square before, during and after the transformation, from pedestrian and traffic studies in the early 2000s, to the pilot project closing of Broadway to traffic in 2009, to the permanent plazas completed this year. The conversation will address how the innovative and carefully-considered design of our urban landscapes can have a measured positive impact on public safety, air quality, and economic output, and how Times Square’s vision might stand as a model for world-class civic spaces across the globe.
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