The Role of Public Space in Community Improvement

<p>Creating beautiful public spaces is crucial to improving sense of community, according to urban designers looking to revitalize the Mississippi town of Tupelo.</p>
February 26, 2008, 7am PST | Nate Berg
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"Make no mistake -- this isn't, as Miller puts it, as 'frilly' as it may sound to some. The role of beautiful public spaces, and visual appeal in general, in the social and economic enhancement of communities these days is well-documented. They produce safer, more attractive places for people to live and work in an era in which the look, feel and quality of life of a city are critical to attracting residents and businesses."

"'Safer' is a word that may not come to mind with talk of improving the appearance of public spaces, but Miller's experience in New York bears it out."

"The parts of the city she has beautified through well-designed and maintained year-round plantings have helped reduce crime, bring people together and enhance the value of declining neighborhoods."

"What invites crime are neglected or deteriorating public spaces that signal nobody cares. Beautified spaces, on the other hand, elevate people and their expectations of themselves. 'People rise to the occasion and take care of a place that's for them,' Miller told her Tupelo audience."

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Published on Sunday, February 24, 2008 in Daily Journal (Northeast Mississippi)
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