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.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday gift ideas part three: another entreaty to shop local

There are five elements to this point:

1.  shopping in a local traditional commercial district as opposed to a mall.

2.  shopping at locally owned stores (as opposed to chain stores), primarily in traditional commercial districts but sometimes in outlier locations, so that more money stays in the local economy

3.  buying direct from artisans, usually at community arts/crafts/flea markets (in DC, at Eastern Market in DC's Capitol Hill (both days this weekend), the Downtown Holiday Market (through Monday), or the Fenton Street Market in Silver Spring, and various popup markets such as last weekend's on Upshur Street NW in Petworth).

b.  New York City has amazing holiday markets set up in many locations such as at Union Square (more likely that items are produced by artisans as opposed to Bryant Park, where there are cool stores, but they tend to sell manufactured goods not produced by artisans).

The items at right are made by Hooked and Loopy and are available at ArtSpring.  I am particularly fond of the alligator and intend to get it for the new baby next door.  The craftsperson was at last weekend's fair on Upshur Street and since she lives in Silver Spring, she'll be at today's Fenton Street Market.

We commissioned a pair of socks properly sized for a man from Amina Ahmad of Handmade Habitat and they were perfect and delivered to our porch in time for us to take as a gift to our neighbors.  She'll be at Fenton Street Market too.

Another really cool project is how Marcella Kriebel (left, at last week's Upshur Street Market) raised the money through Kickstarter to self-publish an illustrated cookbook, Comida Latina, based on recipes from people she met in various places.  The cookbook would be a tremendous gift. The illustrations are wonderful.

4.  buying from artisans via stores set up to represent them.  In a way, the Ten Thousand Villages chain of stores does this, selling crafts from artisans around the world.  In some communities, there are artist co-operatives that do this, such as the Arts & Innovation Gallery in Nashville, ArtSpring in Takoma Park, Maryland, or Arts Prescott Gallery, in Prescott, Arizona.

5.  A kind of way to shop local is to shop at a local museum store, such as the National Building Museum in DC or the New-York Historical Society in NYC (although frankly, I thought they could have had a much better selection of New York-related history books) or the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.  Most of the items aren't produced locally though, but may be locally-referenced.

Right: map-related posters, cards and other items showing DC neighborhoods are available from Cherry Blossom Creative.  (In DC, other artists like Mary Belcher do similar work.  I've seen similar products in other cities as well.)

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