One of the lessons people learned from the Great Depression had to do with accepting strangers. Jim Sheridan shared that when he rode railroad boxcars to get around during the Depression, there would be 50 or 60 people in a car, discussing politics and sharing meals. How can public transportation be a means for relationship-building and dialogue?

Portland is embarking on the “Slow Streets|Safe Streets Initiative,” which aims to ease social distancing, accommodate more pedestrians and bikers, and make Portland’s eventual re-opening smoother. Three components are of importance: eliminating or slowing car traffic, expanding protected pedestrian spaces and bike lanes on busy streets, and creating dedicated pick-up spots and loading zones on commercial streets. Submitted by Ingrid Schneider, University of Minnesota (

The many ways by which streets can be used to give people more space have been documented by urban planner Mike Lydon of Street Plans. These range from closing streets to changing pedestrian signals. See examples of some of the most beautiful streets for inspiration.


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Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni

Concrete sidewalks become a canvas for children to express their creativity and find ways to tell stories of resilience and perseverance, connecting to others around the globe. Dan McClanahan, a photographer in Iowa, captured some of these moments.

Streets – Sidewalks

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As Athen’s streets and plazas empty out, photographer Alexandros Maragos captures the opportunities that arise when emptiness can be a catalyst for innovation and a rethinking of what else streets can be. In the words of poet Argyris Xionis, as cited by Demetra Hadjiyianni, “Step on the asphalt with respect. Underneath it there are stones dreaming of gardens.”