For the next day-and-a-half I have the distinct pleasure of working with some of the leading minds in placemaking from around the country. People like Fred Kent, John Norquist, Josh McManus, Nate Berg and about 50 others are gathered at the Scarab Club in Detroit to discuss ways to advance the concepts of ‘place’.
I will add to this blog throughout the day so please check back.
- We’re developing 25 placemaking case studies as a means to share the very best ideas from around the country. The goal is to replicate great projects in as many places as possible.
- When asked to name the top placemaking project he has seen , Fred Kent chose the Dutch example of dealing with pedestrian safety. They switched from a top down design standard to a bottom-up one that allows individual neighborhoods and streets to control their streets. There are more bike lanes, road diets, transit allowance, etc. The results, as we all know have been amazing.
- The Power of Ten is important for placemaking. Otherwise, scalability and replication are improbable.
- Temporary infrastructure is a quick fix for blighted areas. As a bonus, once a neighborhood shows signs of coming back it can easily be replaced by more permanent structures. Think food carts, container buildings, urban farming, etc.
- “Metrics vs. Charisma” – Another political ad? No, its important in placemaking, too. Truly scalable projects outlive initial leaders for sound business reasons.
- “If you build it they will come” isn’t the whole story. “If you build it with the people who want it then they will come” (or stay) is much better.
- Modeling is important in the placemaking movement. Local governments especially are doing different things and responding to different demands that require a novel approach to keeping score.
- Placemaking has an important impact on public safety. The more attractive the place, the more people hang around. And eyes on the street lessens the opportunity to commit crimes. Basic math.
- Large government funding for things like convention centers, highways and urban renewal projects have had a Godzilla-like effect on communities such as Detroit. Bad decisions can ruin the landscape for a generation>>> John Norquist. Tru dat.
- What would you do with $1,000 in a week; $10,000 over a month; or, $100,000 over a year to advance placemaking concepts in cities? That’s what we are currently hashing out. Ideas are welcome from blog readers. Really!
- Much of the discussion today centered on the need to develop new governance models for providing appropriate services and infrastructure for 2012 and beyond. The current systems in most cities are outdated and the financial models unsustainable. Utilizing a combination of new technologies, civic engagement and public/private partnerships are part of the answer. Ensuring that state and federal government live up to their obligations to provide necessary financial and institutional platforms is another.