Public open space is necessary in all communal environments. Downtown Santa Monica is home to several gathering spaces that cater to residents and visitors, but requires more to meet the needs of a growing urban neighborhood. Several opportunities are discussed in this Chapter and key locations for potential new public or privately-owned open spaces are identified.
Further, for property owners of existing publicly-accessible plazas, courtyards or greens, new incentives for activating underutilized spaces are provided.
The largest public open space in the Downtown is, in fact, the public sidewalk network. Recognizing this, the public space strategy focuses on making sidewalks perform better for pedestrians as they journey from destination to destination. Designers, property owners and City staff will want to read about the "Signature Sidewalks" concept, which proposes four new streetscape projects on Ocean Avenue, Wilshire Boulevard, Lincoln Boulevard and 4th Street. A future action of this Plan is the Downtown Streets Manual, which will provide high-level guidance on the design, materials, furnishings and amenities of future streetscape projects conducted within the Downtown.
Similarly, guidance is provided on improving existing sidewalks and building setbacks with landscaping, lighting, and pedestrian-friendly activity, like outdoor dining.