Sidewalk cafes

Sidewalk Activity Provides a Jolt of Urbanism to San Jose

Creating a strong economy requires creating a “sense of place,” that difficult-to-quantify assemblage of urban elements—retail shops, flower-adorned paseos, street performers, murals or charming cafés—that make pedestrians want to linger, rather than merely to pass through. Last month, many of you saw news accounts of our most recent effort to enliven our public spaces, in the form of a pilot project to launch “Curb Cafés” in San Jose. By extending the sidewalks into the streets, adjacent businesses—restaurants, cafes, bike shops or bookstores—can create dynamic spaces that both draw customers out into sunshine, and enliven the streetscape for passers-by.