New York urban renewal concept aims to create more functional public places from sidewalk construction sites — transforming them from an eyesore to a community asset.
Softwalks is an initiative to improve the pedestrian experience in New York City by diversifying the function of unsightly sidewalk scaffolding sheds. A project started by the MFA Transdisciplinary Design program at Parsons/The New School, this initiative transforms the 6,000 sidewalk sheds that total over 1 million linear feet of enclosed sidewalk area in New York City. Softwalks provides kits to create more functional public spaces, activating our desires to sit, chat, and appreciate interesting environments.
Inspired by the successful pilot projects the Department of Transportation has implemented in the last five years to transform various street scrapes from auto-centric spaces into pedestrian plazas, such as the theater district on Broadway, Softwalks aims to shift the common perception of sidewalk sheds. Each kit contains materials needed, such as a seat, metal attachments, and screws, to create amenities for the public. So far, the project has designed chair, counter, and planter kits. Watch the video below for a short introduction to this initiative.