Building a Better Plaza...a Better Brooklyn
The Grand Army Plaza Coalition (GAPCo) is an alliance of stakeholders in Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza, encompassing community groups, cultural organizations, and advocates who work together to improve the welfare of Grand Army Plaza. GAPCo seeks to understand how Grand Army Plaza functions today, to envision how the Plaza might function better, and to implement solutions that realize that vision.
What We Believe
GAPCo believes that Grand Army Plaza, despite its physical and spiritual centrality to Brooklyn, misses its potential as one of the world's great urban spaces. Many elements of great spaces - cultural institutions, abundant greenery, efficient transportation, adjacent vibrant neighborhoods - are present; however, these elements are poorly balanced, and one crucial element - people using the space - is largely missing. GAPCo believes that design solutions, improving access to and through the Plaza, and programming solutions, improving the experience of the Plaza, can create a properly balanced urban space.
Our Six Core Principles
1) Improved Pedestrian Access
The indispensable element of a successful public space is the presence of people using the space. The confusing array of crosswalks currently discourages access to and through the Plaza.
2) Enhanced Commercial Presence
The Greenmarket is uniformly hailed as the most successful element of the Plaza, but it occupies a small portion of the Plaza, and only operates one day a week. The Plaza could host vastly expanded retail operations.
3) Aesthetic Improvements
Akin to the 'broken windows' theory is the 'broken cobble' theory: poor maintenance of basic elements like pavement, benches, and plantings sends a bad message about a space. Also, the cultural organizations could advertise themselves in a way that heightens the aesthetic of the Plaza.
4) "Close the GAP"
The Grand Army Plaza Arch was designed to be the grand entrance to the Park. However, it was designed before the automobile. Our goal is to explore options to reunite the Arch to the Park and improve access to both.
5) Reclaim Asphalt
There are dozens of places through Grand Army Plaza that are currently paved over for cars or people, but do not need to be so. Wherever possible, these should be greened.
6) Rethink Traffic Flow
Traffic flow - cars, buses, bicycles, pedestrians - should be thought of holistically to ensure that all visitors can travel and reach their destination efficiently and safely.