The Las Vegas Strip, one of the most visited places in the world, with over 40 million visitors in 2014. Regardless of whether you find the Strip to be an exhilarating and thrilling ride or a mingled chaos that overwhelmingly seeps over you, one cannot deny the simple fact that this is a great example of good urbanism and arguably one of the best pedestrian environments. Nowhere else can you find the amount of people on the streets and constant activity at all hours of the day. So why has the strip been so successful? Is it because it has been dictated by private money and do I dare say creativity? Is this what happens when private money dictates every aspect of the built environment?
I did some digging and found that in order to streamline and speed up the permitting process for the Strip (just imagine how long it takes to build anything out of the ordinary in your local city), Clark County set up a special team of planners, the High-Impact Projects team that works with corporations on a development agreement for each project. This ensures that the developer either develops or funds certain aspects of public infrastructure.
And one can certainly tell. Even with the amount of vehicle traffic, walking is quite pleasant as evidenced by tens of thousands who stroll the Strip every day with a drink in their hand and an astonished gaze on their face.
On my last visit, following a few days in the Arizona heat desert (upcoming blog), we decided to indulge in the lifestyle of the Strip, which included one of the best dining experiences I have ever had (thanks to my J & Chef Michael) and a lazy Sunday at one of the many pools, (pictured below, dinner at the Palms Casino Resort and Rehab pool at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino).
The Strip continues to surpass its counterparts and is constantly evolving. In addition to the recent opening of the Linq Promenade, there is a new pedestrian haven in town. The $50 million Grand Bazaar Shops located at the heart of the Strip provide retail and dining experience capturing the "essence and excitement of the world’s greatest open-air markets" and providing a modern spin on the traditional bazaar with 150 small scale shops. The main epicenter is the glitzy crown jewel called the Swarovski Crystal Starburst (pictured below).
Images by author and J.S. Data linked to sources.
Full time City Transportation Planner. Part time urbanista dreamer & traveler residing in Minneapolis, Minnesota.