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City's New No-Car Zones Lead to Rad Urban Planning Improv

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Photos courtesy of <a href="http://www.leefstraat.be/">Gentse Leefstraten</a>
Photos courtesy of Gentse Leefstraten

Imagine a car-free zone in your neighborhood. Now put your patio furniture in the freed-up space, a Ping-Pong table, maybe, or a trampoline. Make a picnic, mingle with the neighbors—even the ones you don't like. That is what's happening in Ghent, Belgium, this summer. Leefstraten or 'Living Streets' is an experimental, urban intervention in which 16 residential streets have been closed to cars (fret not, alternative spaces were found for them), and the residents are left free to do as they please with the space. There's collective decision making, a unique character to each street's reuse, and a sense of community that, in some urbanized places at least, can be lacking.


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