Urban Dead Zones

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Every city nowadays seems to have a plaza, a city hall fountain or a courthouse square that was supposed to be its answer to Rome’s Trevi Fountain or London’s Trafalgar Square.

Instead, these supposed gathering spaces turn into wind tunnels, sun scorched walkways or a blank acres of bricks. The wind is so strong at City Hall Plaza in Boston that once the Boston Pops had to quit a concert because the stands and scores of the musicians kept blowing away. Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. is so hot in the summer and so freezing in the winter, the only people who hang out there are the skateboarders.

City Hall Plaza in Albuquerque, New Mexico is a concrete wasteland where the sun would fry the hardiest flower. These wastelands might be more useful as drive-in movie theatres or carrier decks or soybean fields. Join us to discover how city dead zones come back to life.

Metropolis Magazine is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary with its coming March issue. There you can find an article by our guest Robert Campbell, and interviews with John Norquist and Jerry Brown. For more information about public spaces, see the March issue of Metropolis Magazine.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Robert Campbell, Boston Globe Architect Critic

John Norquist, Mayor of Milwaukee

and Jerry Brown, Mayor of Oakland.