This wonderful organization called Project for Public Spaces came to me from the heavens (or the Permaculture SF listserv). It talks about co-creating cities in a communal fashion. It seems like an amazing example of treating urban spaces as the communal living environments they are and the intentional communities they could be, centered around a concept called “Placemaking.”
“Placemaking is both a process and a philosophy. It takes root when a community expresses needs and desires about places in their lives, even if there is not yet a clearly defined plan of action. The yearning to unite people around a larger vision for a particular place is often present long before the word “Placemaking” is ever mentioned. Once the term is introduced, however, it enables people to realize just how inspiring their collective vision can be, and allows them to look with fresh eyes at the potential of parks, downtowns, waterfronts, plazas, neighborhoods, streets, markets, campuses and public buildings. It sparks an exciting re-examination of everyday settings and experiences in our lives.
Unfortunately the way our communities are built today has become so institutionalized that community stakeholders seldom have a chance to voice ideas and aspirations about the places they inhabit. Placemaking breaks through this by showing planners, designers, and engineers how to move beyond their habit of looking at communities through the narrow lens of single-minded goals or rigid professional disciplines. The first step is listening to best experts in the field—the people who live, work and play in a place.
Experience has shown us that when developers and planners welcome as much grassroots involvement as possible, they spare themselves a lot of headaches. Common problems like traffic-dominated streets, little-used parks, and isolated, underperforming development projects can be avoided by embracing the Placemaking perspective that views a place in its entirety, rather than zeroing in on isolated fragments of the whole.”
Check out the Project for Public Spaces here: http://www.pps.org