Last weekend, I was enjoying a nice bike ride with my family along the Jersey side of the Hudson River, from Jersey City to Weehawken. As I had originally mentioned in my first blog, because I’m an architect, who thinks as an architect and who also has a master's degree in urban planning; when I walk, well in this case bike, in the city, I “feel” the city! I then stop and think to myself, how can urban planners, political representatives, developers and also architects, not have any idea how much we can really help the people who live, work and use these spaces? If only we were a little more sensitive about public space!
This is a typical example of what I’m talking about. This building is facing the promenade; with beautiful views of NYC from the sidewalk, but there is nothing else that actually motivates someone to walk along there.
The street level for this building doesn't have anything that makes people want to walk there. This building has the new “mansion” style apartments, this is the new way to name these apartments that have an independent entrance. Beautiful and large windows on the street level. You can only imagine how nice they are inside, but these apartments are on ground level, the better views are on the upper floors. Why do you think Le Corbusier designed Ville Savoye 9 feet above ground? But also, who wants to be on street level and feel the lack of privacy? Picture it, all the windows will definitely have the blinds down.
Sometimes, this is the way that some developers or architects approach the street life, with a separation through stairs, ramps or baranda.
Is this what people really want? We need to change this approach. It’s time to start thinking about the people who inhabit these spaces. The street life produce encounters and interactions.
Today we live in a world where we walk with our smart phones in front of our eyes and it makes sense, if what we have to look at is all these buildings. I prefer to look at my phone as well. My phone or my tablet give me more interaction than this type of city.
It is time to change. It is time to create spaces and not non-spaces!