Citizens should lead

A link to my reviews of 3 new books that may inspire some to get thee to city hall or at least remind us of the possibilities of better design of urban places.

On a related note, I think every food system organizer (really, every organizer) needs to know Jane Jacobs.  One new book that I am still working my way through may help those of you not interested in reading about her life story or diving into her classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Vital Little Plans is a collection of many of her shorter pieces and her talks, including some of what she wrote on her way to publishing Death and Life. One of the editors (Storring) works at Projects For Public Spaces (PPS),  a consulting firm well known for its market technical assistance, Placemaking tools, and workshops. (Exciting news: They should be announcing their 2018 Public Market Conference location very soon too.)

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Readers will find classics here, including Jacobs’s breakout article “Downtown Is for People,” as well as lesser-known gems like her speech at the inaugural Earth Day and a host of other rare or previously unavailable essays, articles, speeches, interviews, and lectures. Some pieces shed light on the development of her most famous insights, while others explore topics rarely dissected in her major works, from globalization to feminism to universal health care.

Buy it near you at an independent bookstore.

“Creative placemaking? What is it that you do?”

Great article linked below along with a salient excerpt about placemaking which is something all market organizations should know a little about.

We essentially believe that a creative placemaking project needs to have four basic parts:

First, the work needs to be ultimately place-based, meaning that there is a group of people who live and work in the same place. It can be a block, a neighborhood, a town, a city, or a region, but you need to be able to draw a circle around it on a map.

Next, you need to talk about the community conditions for all of the people who live in that place and identify some community development change that that group of people would like to see: a problem with housing that needs to be fixed; an opportunity with a new transportation infrastructure that needs to be seized; a problematic narrative around public safety that needs to be changed. (There are ten categories of community development changes that we currently track.)

Third is when the “creative” comes into play: how can artists, arts organizations, or arts activity help achieve the change that has been articulated for this group of people?

And, finally, since these are projects that explicitly set out to make a change, there needs to be a way of knowing whether the change has happened. Some people call this “project evaluation.” We simply say it is important to know when you can stop doing something, cross it off your list, and move on to the next thing.

"Creative placemaking? What is it that you do?" | ArtPlace.

Project for Public Spaces | Apply Now for Free Technical Assistance

Is your community working to become more livable and sustainable? Are you running into barriers in achieving these goals?

Project for Public Spaces is excited to announce free technical assistance (through January 9, 2015) to address these challenges. Livability Solutions partners, which include the nation’s leading experts in creating sustainable communities, will lead one- and two-day targeted workshops in communities around the U.S. Communities will learn how to use PPS’ tools or workshop approaches, such as walkability audits, green infrastructure valuation guides, shared use agreements, and community image surveys, that can help achieve goals of enhancing livability, creating lasting economic and environmental improvements, and improving residents’ public and social health. A short report will be prepared for each community following the technical assistance. Eight to ten communities will be selected to receive technical assistance this year.Link to application and more information.

Land use and transportation planning

When considering integrated land use and transport planning, Placemaking promotes a simple principle: if you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places. The power of this simple idea is that it reflects basic truths that are rarely acknowledged. One such truth is that more traffic and road capacity are not the inevitable results of growth. They are in fact the products of very deliberate choices that have been made to shape our communities around the private automobile. We have the ability to make different choices–starting with the decision to design our streets as comfortable places for people.
That is from our friends at Projects for Public Spaces. If you have not looked at their site, you need to. They have much to offer in linking us to planners, city leaders and international markets. So don’t forget to mark September 2012 for Cleveland OH trip for their International Public Market Conference.

PPS announces Cleveland as the location for 2012 International Public Market Conference

Hey market folks, this is a great conference to meet a varied group of market organizers, public space activists and decision makers. Cleveland will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of their iconic West Side Market and will also be able to show off many great projects focused on increasing markets, regional food and public space uses during the conference.
PPS will co-host the conference with the Ohio City Near West Development Corporation as the organization dedicated to developing, preserving, and promoting Ohio City, the neighborhood anchored by the West Side Market.

Join the PPS email list to get information about this conference and check out the “Green City Blue Lake” website to see what Cleveland has been up to lately.