The temporary pedestrianization of Bucharest’s central streets – what were its effects on the city and its dwellers?
The Open Streets project was initiated by Asociația ARCEN in the spring of 2020, following the release from COVID-19 related lockdown. Their proposal to extend central open-air public spaces around parks, squares and plazas, by means of turning adjacent streets in pedestrian areas on the weekends was met with enthusiasm by both administration and public.
We joined the project in 2021, as researchers and data collectors, since we believe the temporary pedestrianization of the city’s central streets has the potential to become a strategic planning instrument for Bucharest. It may become not only a pilot project for urban policy making, but also a bridge connecting local communities, entrepreneurs, cultural institutions and administration in a dialogue regarding the street as public space.
The report is set on observations, data and surveys conducted by our joint teams throughout the project. It objectively groups a series of needs and recommendations from the general public, local entrepreneurs and residents, upon which we base concrete proposals and actions that may optimise the experience and organisation of future editions and iterations of the project. One major objective recommended for the administration is setting up a guidebook to pedestrian areas, that would enhance the responsible and respectful use of the street as public space. The guidebook we propose is structured in five parts, that may be individually developed further: the morphology of street spaces (rules of occupation, infrastructural needs, signage, urban furnishings), the functions of street spaces (agreed uses, mapping of special requirements – e.g. residential areas, ratio for new commercial – services – cultural spaces), the communication of street spaces (public space as education, patrimony of the city), planning street spaces (daily flows for commercial, services and residence activities, calendar of events), courtesy in street spaces.
The report is currently only available in Romanian here.