The American Planning Association
, the association of planning professionals and stakeholders, designates October as National Community Planning Month
While we can think of "community planning" as overall planning for a village, town, city, or county, typically "community planning" refers more to planning at the sub-city level, of "districts," "sectors" and neighborhoods.
In 2007, the APA initiated the Great Places in America
program as a way to call attention to those elements that characterize "great communities."
Each year communities are designated as great places in three different categories:
-- Master list of honorees, 2007 - 2015
Gastrofest in Hemming Park is a food festival that brings people into this recently renovated public space on Laura Street. Photo Ennis Davis, AICP, City of Jacksonville.
These are the kinds of places that serve as examples of the kinds of places we might like to have in and can work to create in our own communities. They are also places that we should consider visiting while we travel.
The places selected represent communities of various sizes, which is an important reiteration of something that I've always believed: that you can learn from any community, regardless of its size or the size of your community.
For example, I found when I was involved in the Main Street commercial district revitalization program that people from center cities tended to believe that they didn't have much to learn from smaller cities.
Since in the "center city" in fact we are working at the sub-city level at the scale of a neighborhood or commercial district, the reality is that a "small town" may be as big or bigger than our center city revitalization effort.
Similarly, even sprawling places like Phoenix have examples of superior urbanism and community planning that we can learn from too, as the designation of the Roosevelt Row Arts District in Phoenix proves (I know, it happens I visited it once during its monthly art walk event...).
Each listing for this year's honorees has a short case study covering those qualities that makes them special:
Kansas City, Missouri
Los Angeles, California
Asheville, North Carolina
San Diego, California
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Labels: civic assets, cultural planning, neighborhood planning, public realm framework, sustainable land use and resource planning, urban design/placemaking