Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Thinking Outside the Square

While we're on the subject of Urban Planning, I also happened to catch the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership's plans for Market Square today. You can see the plans here.

Your choices, apparently, are Minimal, Oasis, and Historic... all of which bring to mind scented candles that I have thrown away in years past.

All of these designs, however, share the same problem: Market Square is not a square, and no, I don't mean that in trivial technical sense that it's a rectangle.

For all intents and purposes, Market Square is now essentially part of a pedestrian mall that stretches from Fifth Avenue all the way to the Tomb of the Unknown Bowler in PPG place. In fact, once the proposed PNC park (small "p" in park) is built next to that new sky scraper, people will have a nearly unobstructed view all the way from the waterfall behind Heinz Hall to Mt. Washington.

That's kind of neat, actually, but all three plans do not deal with the longitudinal axis of what is essentially a long public space and how these three individual urban rooms address one another.

But that's just an amateur opinion and all...

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