December 22, 2005

Town Green Planned For N.J. Mall

Preliminary plans for a new Bethlehem Township, N.J. shopping center will include an outdoor "town green" gathering place, according to the Express-Times. The cynic in me says 1) I guess towns without real public town centers need private industry to manufacture and simulate them, and 2) that sounds a bit like the old Shoppers World, and I wish we had something like that incorporated into the hideously pedestrian-hostile current Shoppers World.

Now that I got that off my chest, though, I do think it's encouraging that private developers are thinking about public space. Assuming the space really is developed with walker-appeal in mind, and not simply plopped amidst a network of traffic sewers where nobody would actually want to walk.

"Possibilities for the green include a venue for a farmers' market and a band shell for outdoor concerts. The developer plans to include a fountain or carousel in the space," the article notes. "Rather than a traditional shopping center, [developer spokesman Dehan] Glanz said the goal is a return to an 'old style,' with pedestrian-friendly streets and a 'downtown' feel."

Pity no one thought about the outdoor pedestrian streetscape in the Natick Mall redevelopment...

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