A Place, Not A Design

A Place, Not A Design

Project for Public Spaces

His views regarding designers have been controversial. The New York Times described him as someone "who would like to see most architects hit the road." Yet Fred Kent, President of the nonprofit Project for Public Spaces (PPS), is matter of fact about the issue: "We're just asking architects to create great civic spaces, not visual design statements."

Expanding on the work of William H. Whyte, the influential urbanist who studied the city by observing how people used streets and plazas, Kent puts his beliefs into practice by retrofitting problematic parks, plazas, shopping strips, and streets across America.

This week, Project for Public Spaces launches two initiatives in its hometown of New York, which put its placemaking expertise in the service of rebuilding Lower Manhattan.

Downtownnyc.org is a web-based "community design center" that aims to give New Yorkers a say in the re-development of neighborhoods affected by the September 11th terrorist attacks. The website promotes one of PPS' basic principles: "the community is the expert."

"We're asking people who know and use downtown intimately - residents, workers and others - to contribute their local knowledge to help build a vision for a revitalized downtown," says Julie Caniglia, Project Director for Project for Public Spaces. "The website will evolve both as a major information resource, and a place where people can publicly discuss the issues while visioning, planning and rebuilding takes place."

Downtownnyc.org is complemented by "How to Turn a Place Around," - PPS' placemaking training course based in Lower Manhattan on July 25th. The course is designed to explore the relationship between architecture and public spaces. Participants will learn strategies for improving public spaces to strengthen security, accessibility, and comfort - while increasing the level of public use and contributing to the livability of the city.

Related Link: Project for Public Spaces

For more information contact:

Harriet Festing
Project for Public Spaces
153 Waverly Place, 4th Floor
New York
NY 10014

Phone: 212 620 5660
Fax: 212 620 3821
Email: [email protected]
Web: http://www.pps.org

Posted May 14, 2002

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