This article from The New York Observer looks at how New York City might be different with more "livable streets".
"The Dutch call it a woonerf-a "livable street" resplendent with wide sidewalks, ample retail, greenery and minimal automobile traffic. It's designed to boost quality of life for citizenry, the till for retailers and property values for landowners. Perhaps you've noticed that New York City doesn't have many woonerfs amid its warren of streets, which make up one-fourth of the city's land area."
"But what if it did?"
"Retail sales and property values would jump; pollution and noise would drop; and contentment among those lucky enough to live near or on a livable street would abound. That's the idyllic outcome, according to a preliminary report shared with The Observer by the nonprofit group Transportation Alternatives. (The report is out officially Aug. 6.) The report aggregated studies of livable streets performed in other cities and found tangible benefits-not Valhalla, perhaps, but serious economic and social benefits that might be replicated in New York."
Thanks to Streetsblog