Let’s Build More Places Like Center Street

Yesterday after I finished an interview for work I walked through downtown. It was late afternoon and the entire area was filled with kids trick-or-treating.

Trick-or-treaters on Center Street. The stores in this area gave out candy Wednesday afternoon.

Kids and parents in the plaza outside the convention center.

Seeing all these families out reminded me of Tuesday’s post about the “trick-or-treat test,” the importance of “door density,” and how great neighborhoods are good for kids and everyone else.

Most of these kids probably went back and trick-or-treated in their own neighborhoods, but they also came downtown for a reason: in the end, it’s a good place for trick-or-treating because it’s a pretty well designed place. There are big sidewalks, beautiful buildings, and trees. Blocks have extra cross walks. Cars can’t drive faster than 15 mph. And buildings are close to the street.

And seeing all of this made me wonder: why aren’t we building neighborhoods that look more like downtown? Sure, every street can’t be lined with stores, and downtown itself is likely to get some improvements soon. But regardless, people like it. Everyone I know who comes to Provo comments on it. And though it may not always be the liveliest place in the world, it’s probably the liveliest place in Provo, or Utah Valley for that matter.

The point here is that all of those elements I mentioned above could easily be incorporated into residential neighborhoods. Houses can be beautiful and located close to the street. Residential streets can also have low speed limits and frequent cross walks. And in the end, more neighborhoods should have many of the elements that everyone loves in downtown.

People love downtown, so it makes sense to build more neighborhoods with similar elements.

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4 Comments

Filed under community, Downtown

4 responses to “Let’s Build More Places Like Center Street

  1. Interesting; I like that idea very much. It’s such a bummer when the kids go mall trick-or-treating at the Towne Center and leave me with a whole bowl of candy and like 10 full sized bars that are tempting me as I type. I feel like Halloween is this awesome opportunity to build community and I’m always sad when fewer and fewer kids trick-or-treat in the neighborhoods each year.

    Of course a part of that is mass hysteria about needles and drugs in the candy, which can’t really be solved with city planning. There’s something a little messed up when people feel like they can trust The Gap to give their kids safe candy, but not their neighbors.

  2. Matthew Taylor

    You probably know that I live in a downtown neighborhood. I refuse to take my kids trick-or-treating at the mall or in rich neighborhoods because, like Jamie, Halloween should be about community; a giant neighborhood party. Even though three out of four homes are dark on Halloween night in our neighborhood, I take my kids around for a couple hours. We see the familiar faces that we know and a few we don’t. I make sure they go visit the widows and single ladies. In the end we’ve strengthened a few of our community connections and familiarized ourselves with a few people we didn’t know, even if just a little. And, they still get a surprising amount of candy, to the point that they’re saying they’ve had enough and are asking to go home.

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