hands in red work gloves squirting grout into sidewalk cracks

A New Era for Sidewalks, the Ultimate Public Space

A New York Times story on a project to repair and restore 108 blocks of sidewalk surrounding Central Park called on UCLA Luskin Interim Dean Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris to provide history and context. “Sidewalks are the ultimate public space. They exemplify openness and democracy,” Loukaitou-Sideris said. “They really have to be open and accessible to everyone, regardless of age, gender, disability, race, ethnicity.” The urban planning scholar and author of “Sidewalks: Conflict and Negotiation Over Public Space” said sidewalks first became widespread in the United States in the 19th century but have many more uses today. Electric scooters, delivery robots, people using Google Maps on foot, people waiting for Ubers and restaurants expanding outdoors have all found a place on the sidewalk. “There are all these new uses that have been brought about by digital technology and the pandemic,” Loukaitou-Sideris said. “Sidewalks are becoming more important than what they have been, and it might be a new era for sidewalks.”


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