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.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How about the "Green 'Hood" as the unifying brand for Prince George's County

The press reports that the Convention and Visitors Bureau in Prince George's County is doing a branding study. (See "County seeks a brand to help market itself" from the Gazette.)

I am all for branding and identity programs.

But you start with identity. You just can't pull a "brand" out of the hat.

I wasn't able to keep track of the Envision Prince George's visioning-planning effort. Hopefully it was strong on defining the "place capital" of the County.

According to Embrace the Possibilities: Phase 1, Final Report, the goals of the vision are:

• High Levels of Safety
• Diversity of Shopping, Restaurants, and Entertainment

• Prosperous Small Businesses
• Federal Jobs Hub
• Higher Education Innovation Engine

• Top-Notch School District
• Career & Technical Education

• Responsive Government
• High Public Engagement Levels

• Recreation, Health, and Wellness Activities
• Vibrant Arts & Culture

• Local Jobs, Businesses, and Amenities
• Transit-Oriented Mixed-Use Communities
• The Vision—Envision Prince George’s

However, the County is dissipating its place capital in all kinds of mostly new places (National Harbor, Boulevard at Cap Centre, Redskins Stadium [granted, it's been around for awhile], Konterra, Wegman's), rather than focusing its efforts and building outward from extant assets.

What does PG stand for?

What should it strive for?

Build an identity and vision from there.

Right now, the best I can come up with is:

Prince George's County: The Green 'Hood

because it has the violence and corruption of DC, without a center, but with the green open spaces that attract people from the city.

(DC has those kinds of spaces too, just not at the center fof the city.)

It is about place capital.

Suzanne took a cab home last week, and the cab driver knew our area, and talked about how in the 1980s, all the people he knew were leaving this neighborhood, for the seeming green pastures of condominium living in Prince George's County.

They moved to condominiums, but they didn't move to a place.

He said virtually all of them lost their money as the housing market tanked, or they moved back, because they couldn't find the community that they were seeking by leaving the city.

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