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.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Engaged civic/planning efforts

I still haven't gotten around to writing about some projects involving students from the Maryland Institute of Contemporary Arts in Baltimore that I saw at Artscape.

1. Open City was a civic engagement planning project organized by the Senior Curation Class. Think of it--a museums exhibition class did a better job organizing a planning initiative than do many offices of planning.
Baltimore Open City

2. A masters student in photography did his thesis on a part of Baltimore, Oldtown, that is an example of unsuccessful urban renewal. His grandfather had a store there. Interestingly, his thesis read like a planning document.

3. And another MICA project puts graphic design students together with various social marketing initiatives.
Loss and Consequences, Drink and Ride MICA graphic campaign
Collectively these projects intrigue me and make me wonder if MICA's community arts masters program ought to develop a joint program with an urban planning curriculum?

4. In June, we came across the Ghana Think Tank project, set up as an outdoor art type exhibit, at the Queens Museum of Art.
Ghana Think Tank, Queens Museum of Art, Corona, Queens

Ghana Think Tank, Queens Museum of Art, Corona, Queens

This kind of project can be done anywhere, in every big city for sure. They were asking people for feedback, to identify problems and opportunities for improvement within their neighborhood.

5. In Montreal there is the "Transit Kitchen" project, sponsored by the Goethe Institute there. From the website:

Take 700 km of bike paths, 20 medium-sized pedestrian zones, 400 bus routes, 8 subway lines, mix everything well and you get an improved concept for mobility for the city of Montréal.

The international art project "Transit Kitchen“ by Folke Köbberling and Martin Kaltwasser is an invitation for Montréalers to deal with the themes of public transit, bike paths, pedestrian zones and scenarios for the future for an increasingly mobile and climate-friendly Montréal.

Montréalers and visitors will be invited to present, in the form of an ingredients list, recipes, meals, cooking methods and gourmet tips for new possibilities of mobility and for an improved urban lifestyle in Montréal.

Transit Kitchen launched in Toronto, and they have a cookbook of solutions from the exhibit there.
Toronto Union Station Transit Kitchen
Toronto Transit Kitchen in Union Station.

6. Rethink NYC is a project sponsored by the Guggenheim Museum and BMW, as part of a series of pro-city event-exhibits across the world. See "BMW Guggenheim Lab to Open as Pop-Up in East Village" from the New York Times. It lasts through mid-October.

Note that the Baltimore Open City project did the same kind of thing, using space to exhibit on North Avenue and downtown that wasn't being used "productively."

7. Conferences in Providence, the Providence Symposium, "Make no little plans" in September, sponsored by the Providence Preservation Society and the New England Bike Walk Summit on Friday October 7th, are ways to engage the public in a manner that also builds capacity and community.

8. And the winning submissions from Gowanus by Design’s inaugural competition Gowanus Lowline: Connections, along with the four honorable mentions, 20 thought provoking “idea leaders” and three winning student teams from the Brooklyn School for Collaborative studies will be on display at the SET Gallery, 287 Third Avenue, Brooklyn for two weeks in September. The show’s opening night is Thursday, September 15, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.

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