Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It pays to be connected

Following up the branding theme, The Washington City Paper's Housing Complex column reports on a similar type of initiative for "Mid City DC" in the article "Neighborhood Making in Midcity."

Carol Felix has done some great work, but we don't know yet how much of it was luck (really, how hard was it for Whole Foods to figure out that a location on the 1400 block of P Street NW, in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, was likely superior to a location at 13th and V Street NW), but $200,000?

Holy s***! That's more than what most consulting firms get to do small area plans for the Office of Planning. And it's $150,000 more than what is supposed to be the maximum grant from the Neighborhood Investment Fund.

I don't deny that Georgetown, Mid-City, Columbia Heights, Capitol Hill, etc., need broad-based "commercial district revitalization framework" or "destination development" plans along the lines that I've done for smaller communities. (On the other hand, districts like Georgetown or Capitol Hill are "smaller communities.")

How does one get on that gravy train?

Or am I destined to be doing such plans for small communities like Brunswick, Georgia or Cambridge, Maryland and the like, and never the big city.

n.b., I was part of a consulting team which bid on a NIF grant for Mount Pleasant commercial district revitalization. Instead, our application was denied, and the Office of Planning turned around and gave a different consulting firm a contract to do the same kind of project. I don't think their final report, clickable here, is as impressive as the report done for Cambridge, Maryland, at far less cost and with a lot fewer resources...

I guess it doesn't "pay" to tell truth to power...

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