I was pleased to take part in a Twitter event yesterday led by Sarah Szurpicki at Lets’s Save Michigan. The on line event reached over 80,000 Twitter users and many more Facebook accounts. A copy of Sarah’s warp-up blog is below. I will ask her to blog again in a couple of weeks when LSM rolls out its first-of-a-kind placemaking competition.
Thanks to everyone who participated in or followed along with our “Leap Into Placemaking” event today. Our panelists–Nate Berg from The Atlantic Cities, Diana Lind from Next American City, Ethan Kent (who was sitting in for Kathy Madden) from the Project for Public Spaces, and Dan Gilmartin from the Michigan Municipal League–offered some tangible best practices and placemaking examples, as well as some insight into how placemaking can become an entirely new mindset and approach for economic development. For instance, what if every investment in transportation required an understanding of the project’s impact on people and place? What if every city department had to consider a placemaking mandate for its projects? What if cities had a department for public spaces?
Generally, the panelists agreed that placemaking projects–whether permanent or temporary–can have unexpected and transformative results on a neighborhood or city. They also agreed wholeheartedly that “placemaking” is truly about people, whether it’s about activiting a community space, or helping people have rich experiences in a specific place. It’s that kind of thinking that can help revitalize Michigan’s cities. Our focus should be on our people.
We’ll write up a fuller summary later this week, but you can check out the conversation, including links to some of the projects that panelists mentioned, by searching for the hashtag #LSMplace on Twitter.
P.S. If you care about creating and maintaining great cities in Michigan (or anywhere) then please sign up for Lets Save Michigan. It is free, painless, and an important step towards reimagining urban places in the 21st Century.