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Urban Life
what to do to improve our lives in the city where we live
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All Placemaking is Creative: How a Shared Focus on Place Builds Vibrant Destinations

All Placemaking is Creative: How a Shared Focus on Place Builds Vibrant Destinations | Urban Life | Scoop.it

Placemaking is a process, accessible to anyone, that allows peoples’ creativity to emerge. When open and inclusive, this process can be extraordinarily effective in making people feel attached to the places where they live. That makes people more likely to get involved and build shared wealth in their communities.


“Placemaking, applied correctly, can show us new ways to help cultures emerge where openness is not so scary,” notes Dr. Katherine Loflin, the lead project consultant for the Knight Foundation’s groundbreaking study, which showed a significant correlation between community attachment and economic growth. “We could find with consistency over time that it was the softer side of place—social offerings, openness, and aesthetics—that really seem to drive peoples’ attachment to their place. It wasn’t necessarily basic services: how well potholes got paved over. It wasn’t even necessarily for peoples’ personal economic circumstances.”

The study’s other key finding was that there is an empirical relationship between higher levels of attachment and cities’ GDP growth.

Placemaking, in other words, is a vital part of economic development. And yet, there has long been criticism that calls into question whether or not this process is actually helping communities to develop their local economies, or merely accelerating the process of gentrification in formerly-maligned urban core neighborhoods. We believe that this is largely due to confusion over what Placemaking is, and who “gets” to be involved. If Placemaking is project-led, development-led, design-led or artist-led, then it does likely lead to gentrification and a more limited set of community outcomes.

 

Read the complete article for more on the process of placemaking and the roles community members play in creating vibrant spaces...


Via Lauren Moss
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Katharine Norman's curator insight, March 15, 2013 3:16 AM

Positive aspects from being connected to your community.

 

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How Urban Parks Enhance Your Brain

How Urban Parks Enhance Your Brain | Urban Life | Scoop.it
A break from the bustle of the city can do your mind good, recent research shows.

A couple weeks ago the folks at Cracked told readers that "living in a city makes you dumber." There are a number of flaws here — beyond the obvious one of getting your science news from Cracked — but the research at the center of the claim has some relevance to cities worth considering nonetheless. What it tells us is not so much a story about the hazards of city living as it is about the benefits of city parks.

The original study at issue here, which I'm familiar with from earlier work, was published back in 2008 in Psychological Science [PDF]. A research team led by Marc Berman of the University of Michigan gave participants a standard memory and attention test then assigned some of them to walk through downtown Ann Arbor, and others to walk through the impressive campus arboretum. The participants were tested again upon their return, and beyond a doubt the group that took the nature walk scored significantly better...


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What Makes a SUCCESSFUL Place?

What Makes a SUCCESSFUL Place? | Urban Life | Scoop.it

When public spaces work well, they serve as a stage for our public lives. So what makes some succeed while others fail?

 

Great public spaces are where celebrations are held, social and economic exchanges take place, friends run into each other, and cultures mix. They are the “front porches” of our public institutions – libraries, field houses, neighborhood schools – where we interact with each other and government. 

In evaluating thousands of public spaces around the world, PPS has found that successful ones have four key qualities: they are accessible; people are engaged in activities there; the space is comfortable and has a good image; and finally, it is a sociable place: one where people meet each other and take people when they come to visit.

 

Read the complete article for a more detailed explanation of the diagram illustrating the elements that contribute to successful public spaces, as well as the qualitative and quantitative criteria to consider when evaluating any given location or site...


Via Lauren Moss, association concert urbain
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Urban Agriculture: Designing Out the Distance

Urban Agriculture: Designing Out the Distance | Urban Life | Scoop.it

By designing our cities – our public and civic spaces, our hospitals and schools – with food in mind, we can facilitate a revolution by making food a visible part of urban life...

 

“The typical Urban Dweller today has no understanding of where or how food is produced/distributed. We have become dependent on huge, powerful, profit-minded corporations to bring huge quantities of food from industrial farms into our supermarkets – but the entire process is hidden, massively complex, and, ultimately, unsustainable.”

Urban Agriculture has incredible potential; unfortunately, however, in America, it has a long way to go. Our economy, our government, our technology, even our perception of what “food” is relies upon the Food System we currently have in place. Urban Agriculture could very well be the answer, but, frankly, not yet.

So where does that leave us today?

All over the world, citizens are taking the Food Revolution into their own hands, becoming urban bee-keepers, guerilla planters, rooftop gardeners, foodie activists. While community engagement and political lobbying are vital to these grassroots movements, so too could be design...


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