28 June 2013

Sense of Place is the Sixth Sense

"Sense of place is the sixth sense, an internal compass and map made by memory and spatial perception together." - Rebecca Solnit

Savage Dreams: A Journey into the Landscape Wars of the American West

11 June 2013

Placemaking and Placemakers

Placemaking. It's the intentional and collaborative efforts capitalizing on local assets and facilitating a spirit of community health, happiness, and well-being. In many ways it happens every day. Often in small ways. People helping people. In larger, more visible ways, it is the boom in farmer's markets, bike lanes, city green spaces, and community art projects.

I follow a few "placemakers" on Twitter - people, groups, and media that focus on placemaking, new urbanism, and community sustainability. Here are just a few:

  • Sustainable Cities (@SustainCities) out of New York is a "community of bloggers promoting civic sustainability and urban environmentalism."
  • Engaging Cities (@EngagingCities) is an online magazine sharing "creative strategies and new technologies to foster public engagement for livable communities."
  • The Project for Public Spaces (@PPS_Placemaking), also based in New York City, helps develop "planning, design and training in 3000 communities and 43 countries." 
  • Orion Magazine (@Orion_Magazine) has been called America's best environmental magazine by the Boston Globe. Focused on Nature, Culture, and Place it is full of poetry, elegent prose, and incredible photography. 
  • The Atlantic magazine has a great side project called The Atlantic Cities (@AtlanticCities) that shares "innovative ideas and pressing issues facing today's cities and neighborhoods."
  • Futerra (@futerra), co-created in London, New York City, and Stockholm, is a "sustainability communications agency" with a mission to make sustainable development "so desirable it becomes normal."

Finally, a "Placemaker's Contest" will be taking place locally (for me), in Madison, Wisc., on Thursday, June 27 from 6-8pm at the Villager Mall on South Park Street. Sponsored by Sustain Dane, this "Eat, Play, Bike" event is free and open to the public.

What placemaking events - big or small - are happening in your community?