Urban street corners can be dirty and desolate. They're also the places people wait for the bus. How one New Orleans group strived to improve them.
Urban street corners can be dirty and desolate. Unfortunately, these in-between spaces are also somewhat of a no-man's-land of responsibility for local residents, business owners, and city services. How to empower citizens to improve these ignored parts of their community? As part of GOOD Ideas for Cities New Orleans, a team examined how to create an affordable kit of improvements which could be replicated on street corners citywide.
They quickly realized that for any project to succeed, it would have to have support of a property owner, who could act as a caretaker for the improvement. They located a business owner whose property happened to front a series of transit routes. The team decided to improve the experience for the people who they noticed were using that corner the most—bus riders—in the form of basic amenities like shade and experience. But they also added cultural improvements, like a lending library and a space for street vendors, dubbing the structure a "StreetHub." Finally, the team created a toolkit that listed all the materials, costs, and directions for building a StreetHub. The StreetHubs would not only improve the aesthetics of the corner, a change which could hopefully ripple out into the community, but they would provide a feeling of safety and security, both for the bus riders themselves and for neighbors walking by.
Challenge: Neighborhood street corners across New Orleans are often in disrepair. This neglect can make our blocks feel unwelcoming and unsafe. Constrained by expense and other concerns, beautification of our intersections is seldom a priority. The Creative Alliance of New Orleans works to provide training, education, and information to the New Orleans community to protect our cultural legacy and promote revitalization. How can we help empower artists, cultural producers, and neighborhoods to take beautification into their own hands?
Urban Leader: Tori Bush, Creative Alliance of New Orleans
StreetHub Team: Alyson Kilday, Austin Lukes, Ella Camburnbeck, Patrick Kelly, Ryan J. Bordenave, Sergio H. Padilla, Zachary Gong, Jeffrey Scanlan, Tara Foster
Read more about the idea at Neighborland.
Video by Andrew Larimer
GOOD Ideas for Cities pairs creative problem-solvers with real urban challenges proposed by civic leaders. To learn more visit good.is/ideasforcities. Watch more videos of recent GOOD Ideas for Cities events, and if you'd like to talk about bringing the program to your city or school, email alissa[at]goodinc[dot]com or follow us at @IdeasforCities