From chapter 4 of Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities:
“Why do children so frequently find that roaming the lively sidewalks is more interesting than back yards or playgrounds? Because sidewalks are more interesting. It is just as sensible to ask: Why do adults find lively streets more interesting than playgrounds.”
One of the great challenges Provo faces is to cultivate lively, bustling sidewalks, particularly in downtown but in other neighborhoods as well. Hopefully our sidewalks will soon not look like the photos I took for this post.
Relatedly, this article* discusses the importance of encouraging loitering in cities — though author Emily Badger notes that it might be more productive to call it “lingering.” She writes,
“Lingering, on the other hand, is both a means to an end and a desirable end in itself. People who linger create vibrant public places and welcoming streetscapes. They also increase the safety of an area, with more eyes on the street. And leisurely foot traffic can lead to more street commerce, more connected communities, and spontaneous exchanges.”
There are people in Provo right now trying figure out how to increase sidewalk usage and get residents to linger in downtown. I was recently even at a meeting where this topic came up. But a great first step is simply getting out and experiencing the city ourselves.
* This post was supposed to link to an Atlantic Cities article, but for some reason did not. That has been corrected. Apologies.