The pedestrian reclamation of Times Square in New York City is a good start for the sake of public art, according to Benjamin R. Barber in the Nation. But it’s not enough. To transform the once traffic clogged area into something that can truly be considered “public,” the city must enlist artists, and secure adequate funding. He writes:
Public space is not merely the passive residue of a decision to ban cars or a tacit invitation to the public to step into the street. It must be actively created and self-consciously sustained against the grain of an architecture built as much for machines as people, more for commercial than common use.
Barber points to Chicago’s Millennium Park and Barcelona’s Las Ramblas (with all of its grit) as places that got public art right. New York has the same potential with Times Square, but it’s not there yet.
Source: The Nation