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Clarence Eckerson

Streetfilms: The Search for the Zozo

10:31 AM PDT on May 1, 2009

I'm in New York this week meeting the who's who of the city's Livable Streets movement and learning about a lovable, purple, near-extinct creature that is apparently making a comeback. I'll let Clarence Eckerson explain:

As New York history buffs can tell you, until the early part of the 20th century, the city was prime habitat for Zozos -- large, furry, innocentpurple creatures that freely roamed the streets, mingling with people and enjoying the public realm.But after the advent of the automobile their numbers slowly dwindled. By the 1930s, sightings became rare and they were thought to have goneextinct.

Now, thanks to a burgeoning livable streets movement and a marked improvement in the city's public spaces,Zozo sightings are again being reported. World-renowned crypto-zoologistDonald Druthers convinced Streetfilms to document the facts -- and yes, we now believe that Zozos could be making a comeback! See the evidence foryourself.

Presenting our long-awaited mockumentary "The Search for the Zozo," featuring many of New York's livable streets luminaries. You'll hear urban historian Kenneth T. Jackson of Columbia University describe the Zozo's storied past. You'll get the lowdown on Zozo sightings and Zozo-inspired stories from Colin"No Impact Man" Beavan, restaurateur Florent Morellet, livable streets advocate Mary Beth Kelly, author Tom Vanderbilt, and a slew of others working to make streets safer and more livable.

I haven't seen a Zozo or any related species in San Francisco but you might want to keep your eyes peeled after the bicycle injunction is lifted and the city begins trial street closures.  Even then, I'm not sure how habitable our  environment will be for Zozos, but we can hope. Zozos despise cars, and in San Francisco, despite our Transit First policy, the automobile still rules. The film is awesome, though. As my Streetsblog LA colleague Damien Newton notes:

It's fun and lighthearted and features the facesto go with some of the names you've probably gotten familiar with ifyou read this blog regularly. Make some time this weekend to sit downand watch it.  If you have kids, they'll probably enjoy it more thanyou.

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