Small town placemaking.
Some people see it as a kind of mythology. Placemaking is only for big cities that attract internationals and Fortune 500 companies, right?
Um… no. No it is not.
Good placemaking helps everyone, in all kinds of communities. A good case in point is the Terra Square development in tiny Hudsonville, Michigan (population 7,116). Terra Square is the recipient of the 2017 Community Excellence Award given by the Michigan Municipal League . Terra Square, a unique community venue, is the culmination of years of planning and deep engagement with businesses, community groups and active citizens. The result:
“Say hello to Terra Square, the city’s freshest, multi-purpose community venue that gives placemaking a whole new meaning. The building features four distinct community spaces; an Indoor/Outdoor Farmers Market Space (we are “The Salad Bowl City” after all); a Gathering Space available for private gatherings or business events; a Co-Work Space where small business owners, startups, and entrepreneurs can create together; and Sonder Provisions, a privately operated farm-to-table restaurant space. The facility is an adaptive reuse of an old Chevrolet dealership building from the 1950s. It sits at the terminus of the new Harvey Street woonerf, a European-themed living street designed with the pedestrian in mind.”
They had me at woonerf!
And Terra Square is just the beginning of what community leaders have in mind for the west Michigan town. Their commitment to making Hudsonville a placemaker’s paradise is real, and their future endeavors are sure to break new ground.
Will it replace Chicago as the Midwest powerhouse city or New York as a global talent magnet? No. But the people of Hudsonville can still experience much of what makes their larger brethren great, just at a scale that makes sense for them.
Great work, Hudsonville!
*Header image is from Farmers Market at Terra Square