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.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Hand written yard sign at a neighborhood intersection, alerting residents to their annual community picnic

Hand written yard sign at a neighborhood intersection, alerting residents to their annual community picnic

One of the things I did yesterday was take some couch cushions to "our upholsterer" to be reconstructed out of firmer material.  He lives in Montgomery County, off New Hampshire Avenue, north of the I-495 Beltway.

As I was driving away, I noticed this sign.

Just as there ought to be a set of prescriptions for promoting sustainable mobility, the same is true of neighborhood development and placemaking.

Some communities are well organized, with a panoply of community organizations, but many are not, and there ought to be focused ways of providing assistance where it is needed, in stoking community development and self-help.

My criticism of DC is that "neighborhood services" units in the Executive Branch and the activities of the various Councilmembers, especially the Ward Councilmembers, are more focused on incumbency promotion and less on the development of community capacity to be self-initiating.


-- "Community associations, centers and hubs: organizing at what scale," 2018
-- "Framingham, Massachusetts creates Citizen Participation Officer position," 2018
-- Asset Based Community Development Institute
-- "Systematic neighborhood engagement," 2007 (although this is focused on neighborhoods experiencing some distress

On my list to review is the new edition of the book How to Turn A Place Around by the Project for Public Spaces.

When I first started out in this field, PPS used to run list serves on various topics including public space and food markets, and that discussion, along with other printed resources, workshops, etc., helped train me.

Ironically, whereas I was certain my team lost the bid to do the planning study for Eastern Market (I gave the presentation of my life, but one of the other presenters was the worst), one of the bidders was a team including PPS.  We won, they didn't...

But if we can manage to get some extra money, I'd love to have them do a public training workshop combining HTTAPA principles along with their work on public markets.  They used to do annual trainings on both of these topics, in NYC.  I attended the HTTAPA workshop (and as an abbreviated workshp in DC for Scenic America in 2004, see "Opportunity in adversity: Eastern Market, DC," 2007), but not the public markets workshop.  It's not clear to me that these workshops are offered anymore.

One of the tools they promote is what they call "The Place Game," where workshop/event participants evaluate a place on site.

I'd like to use that tool as part of the public participation planning process for the Eastern Market study.

Place Game cover

Project for Public Spaces, Place Game, evaluation framework

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