Public Spaces Key to Flint's Rebirth

<p>With a focus on public spaces, Flint, Michigan, is looking to revitalize itself.</p>
March 7, 2008, 8am PST | Nate Berg
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"Flint is reinventing itself again, this time around its under-appreciated parks and public spaces. The city is well endowed with civic gathering places, although many suffer from poor design, neglect, vandalism, and not surprisingly, an absence of people. The city's initial focus is on three strategic places in downtown - a riverfront park, a downtown college campus and a long-running farmers market. The idea is to transform them into multi-purpose places that attract people at many times of day in all seasons and then build momentum for wider efforts."

"A patient, incremental strategy involving continual public involvement is probably essential, given Flint's history. The city has tried and failed repeatedly to pick itself up with big, stand-alone projects foisted without much community input. The $30 million luxury Hyatt Regency Hotel, the Water Street Pavilion - a festival marketplace indoor mall, and the $80 million AutoWorld - the world's largest indoor theme park, were all supposed to make the city attractive to tourists. Instead, they fell into bankruptcy and were taken over by other entities or demolished."

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Published on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 in Making Places
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