A Recipe For Grassroots Community Building

A new book bills itself as a do-it-yourself guide for residents looking to strengthen the sense of community it their neighborhood.

"Jay Walljasper sits in a St. Anthony Park coffee shop and ponders what makes a good neighborhood...For one thing, he says, a coffee shop."

"Walljasper, an author and a former editor at Utne Reader, has turned his appreciation for what makes a livable community into a new book, "The Great Neighborhood Book: A Do-it-Yourself Guide to Placemaking."

"His book is a production of the Project for Public Spaces, a New York-based nonprofit that works at helping people develop public spaces in their communities.

The ideas vary from waving to the people you see to adding a park bench to forming a community choir."

"Nick Koch, an architect and associate vice president in the Minneapolis office of Hammel, Green & Abrahamson, an architectural and engineering firm, said placemaking is something city planners - and everyday people - need to pay more attention to.

"I think that our lives as individuals, as neighbors and as broader communities get better when we practice the kind of community-building that Jay espouses," Koch said. "Sometimes, architects and urban designers will focus on placemaking and physical design, to the exclusion of community and people-activity design. It's the coming together of placemaking and urban design, and then the human and community agenda, that is played out there." "

Full Story: Do great neighborhoods begin with a coffee shop?

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