Refining the Software of Placemaking

In New York and Washington, Rod Stevens reports on two very different examples of the importance of programming, or "software", to placemaking.

Stevens uses as his case studies the work of Dan Biederman of the Bryant Park Corporation, and Ron Sher, at the Crossroads Mall in Bellevue, Washington, and their inventive efforts to turn their respective locales, one urban and one suburban, into thriving active places. Looking beyond physical design, Stevens tries to tease out lessons for those trying to revive moribund places in their own communities.

In Bellevue, in addition to building a calendar full of non-commercial events, Sher "has met the needs of nearby apartment residents by turning an under-used part of the parking lot into community gardens. Longer term, he plans to create a plaza that will be wrapped with mid-rise housing. It's the kind of multi-hour gathering place envisioned in town center plans, but rarely realized."

In Bryant Park, one of Biederman's unique insights is that he, "trusts the public, collectively. The bathrooms are one sign of that. Another is the chairs, which are not bolted down. You can pick them up and move them, but try take one away and people will stop you or call one of the maintenance people in evidence."

Full Story: The Software of Placemaking by Rod Stevens


building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
Red necktie with map of Boston

For dads and grads: tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."

Wear your city with style!

100% silk scarves feature detailed city maps. Choose from six cities with red or blue trim.