The American Planning Association (APA) has named Aspen Pedestrian Mall in Aspen, Colorado, as one of five Great Public Spaces on APA’s annual Great Places in America list, which starts the countdown to National Community Planning Month in October.
APA’s Great Places in America program recognizes the streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces in the United States demonstrating exceptional character, quality, and planning—attributes that enrich communities, facilitate economic growth, and inspire others around the country. The Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets, and Great Public Spaces of 2018 are places that are unique and exemplary in their amenities and infrastructure, cultural identity, and use of sustainable and innovative practices.
“Public spaces serve a number of functions within a community, from gathering places to recreational venues, and to satisfy these varied community needs requires thoughtful collaboration and planning,” said Cynthia Bowen, FAICP, president of APA. Aspen’s Pedestrian Mall is a national example of how public spaces effectively create a sense of place that creates access and opportunity for all.”
The initial idea for the pedestrian mall emerged in the early 1960s but it took 20 years to refine, and now the Aspen Pedestrian Mall remains one of the few successful pedestrian malls in the country. Prioritizing people over automobiles remains an important value in Aspen, and the Pedestrian Mall is a safe, family-friendly and inviting place to walk and socialize. The surrounding natural landscape is carried into the mall through trees with winding, narrow water channels. The mall provides endless opportunities for shopping, leisure, eating, listening to live music, and enjoying views of the surrounding mountains. Although the initial process was contentious, the Aspen Pedestrian Mall serves as one of the most beloved places in the city.
In addition to Aspen Pedestrian Mall, APA recognizes the following Great Public Spaces in 2018: ● The Plaza – Orange, California
● Mill River Park – Stamford, Connecticut
● Public Square – Cleveland, Ohio
● RiversEdge at Marcum Park – Hamilton, Ohio