Ten US cities awarded US$25,000 to redesign communities

4th September 2020 Christopher Carey

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has awarded ten US$25,000 rapid-response grants to support city efforts to transform streets in communities hit disproportionately by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grants will support projects that enable safe physical distancing for people walking, biking, taking transit, and using public space.

In partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the scheme is the second phase of NACTO’s “Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery” programme which documents the design strategies that cities have adopted since the pandemic began.

Janette Sadik-Khan, NACTO’s Chair and Principal with Bloomberg Associates, said: “Transportation and transit agencies around the world are leading the response with bold, creative and rapid steps to reshape their streets, and by using their existing assets differently.

“Adaptive use of streets can lead the global response and recovery to the crisis, keeping people safe and moving while holding cities together.”

Selected projects include:

  • Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability working with restaurants in communities of colour to encourage more non-white residential populations to participate in the city’s outdoor dining programme, and to help repurpose street spaces for outdoor dining.
  • The New York City Department of Transportation and the Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability and Equity’s plan to transform underutilised space under an elevated a train line into a recovery corridor, which will improve access to transit, community facilities, COVID-19 testing and outdoor seating.
  • Portland’s Bureau of Transportation providing services to businesses in historically black neighbourhoods to help design and build open spaces that promote safe shopping while incorporating public art and programming.
  • Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure plan to expand restaurant patios and outdoor seating in the city’s main equity areas, where very few businesses have applied for such permits and have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Since the start of the pandemic, NACTO have produced a number of guidelines and handbooks on how cities can better integrate liveability with mobility.

In August the organisation cooperated with the Global Designing Cities Initiative (GDCI) to produce Designing Streets for Kids, a guide that promotes designs that create safe and enjoyable streets for children to learn, play, and move around a city.

Full details of the ten selected cities and their projects can be found here.


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