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, August 23, 2011

Is your city a great city?

is the title of a piece by the Project for Public Spaces.

In Great Cities…

• Community goals are a top priority in city planning
• The emphasis is on pedestrians, not cars
• New development projects enhance existing communities
• Public spaces are accessible and well-used
• Civic institutions are catalysts for public life.
• Local economic development is encouraged
• Public spaces are managed, programmed and continually improved.

Each factor has 2 to 6 items, for example, under "local economic development is encouraged":

• There are many locally owned businesses-markets, mom-and-pop stores, street vendors, and larger independent stores; these local businesses are encouraged by the city; people know their retailers by name.

• The mix of locally owned businesses is such that at least some of them are “third places” -places where people can just spend time.

• Local businesses work with schools to provide internships or part time jobs.

While I don't consider the list to be exhaustive, it is a good start.

I do believe that most communities likely are found wanting when evaluated against this list.

Too few elected officials have a vision for what a city should be, let alone what it could be, and I believe that many of the things they end up working on or pushing for actually reduce quality of life or destroy wealth and value.

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