To Create a Great 'Third Place', Get Out of the Way

For far too long, the shaping of public spaces has been left to architects and urban planners, who plan from the top down. The most successful projects involve people directly in deciding how their public spaces will look, feel, and operate.

In his article "Get Out of the Way", Brendan Crain of Project for Public Spaces (PPS) describes some of the placemaking strategies that PPS employs to make public spaces in communities reflect the cities and neighborhoods they are found in. When community members are not connected with the process of shaping these important spaces, they feel left out and are less likely to engage in the activities going on in those spaces. "The placemaking process" writes Crain, "encourages people to connect in public spaces, creating the kinds of engaging and memorable third places that anchor strong communities."

So how do you create a great third place? You might start by tapping local wisdom to get a sense of what the needs of the community are. Residents themselves could shape a long term plan for a proposed site and take an active role in their neighborhood. But what else can be done? Check out the rest of Crain's examples from the placemaking work of PPS.

Full Story: Get Out of the Way

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