40. Promote Diversity in Public Spaces

There are many ways to give lip service to diversity. Celebrating cultural or ethnic differences as competitive advantages severely limits the true benefits of having diversity where we work or live. As Ellen Berry states in a Salon article, “Appealing to diversity can unite people across differences that divide us deeply. It affirms a much-needed…

39. Plan For Each Facet of Health

When I worked in healthcare, invariably the topic of healing gardens would come up.  Often, it was considered for the leftover spaces resulting from the standard planning process and often, they resulted in over programmed spaces (fountains and trails and sculpture and a reflection bench).  Generally, no regard was given to context or final users. In…

38. Democratize Design

I blame Target for the perception that Design = luxury.  Recently, the organization has sought to shift from typical big box store, to distinctly different from its peers via “design”.  This notion that design is something extra you pay for has translated into it being seen as frivolous.  As this broadens from the material goods…

37. Better Design Public Space for Assembly

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – Constitution of the United States, Amendment I What’s the…

36. Develop a Sponge City Approach to Stormwater Management

Because of the way cities have evolved, increasingly impermeable and expansive,  they have displaced the natural hydrologic systems that processed stormwater with ease and efficacy.  These systems were adaptable, managing variable wet and dry conditions, while also supporting the biodiversity necessary to sustain a healthy ecosystem.  Now, stormwater is often seen as a waste product….

35. Create Multipurpose Parking Lots

Earlier, I posted a map highlighting the incredible parking density that South Bend has throughout the downtown.  The impact on curb appeal, stormwater management, urban heat island effect, and well as landuse strategies cannot be overlooked.  Another important consideration is the amount of privately owned parking that makes up that total amount.  But that brings…

34. Use Buildings As Canvases

Modern architecture has provided us with some great “blank” canvases.  The building space could be used to provide updates, advertise for community events, and even serve as temporary art space.  Frequently updating projection tiles could have mobile integration providing users additional information if scanned by a smartphone or tablet. Using social media, participants could vote…

33. Use Trinity School at Greenlawn as a Passive Recreation Park

When you look at the general district – from Eddy St. to Logan St to Edison Rd. to the River – there’s not that many public green spaces in Swanson Park. Morris Park Country Club is by far the largest, but as a golf course, it’s also relatively inaccessible.  At the center of this area is…

32. Use the Space Between Buildings to Create Pocket Parks

I’ve written about parklets and pocket parks before; those little places tucked within our urban fabric that really make cities worth exploring.   My favorite pocket park, Paley Park in New York (seen in the featured image), is sandwiched between three buildings and combines movable seating, a lifted Honeylocust canopy, green walls, and a white noise water…

31. Neighborhood Scale Networking Events

Networking is one of those important aspects of business that the networking event is trying its best to kill.  They call to mind windowless hotel bars with people speed passing out business cards in halfhearted sales attempts.  Part of the problem is that the events themselves tend to feel forced, under some guise of feigned…

30. Create Personalized City Tours

Tours are a great way to explore cities. Whether by bike share or by segway, you can rapidly take in highlights you wouldn’t have otherwise been about to view.  South Bend has offered some fantastic architectural tours over the years, both walking and by bus.  Years ago, I talked with Visit South Bend  about highlighting a…

29.Create the Public Space Gallery

Several times I’ve met people for interviews and when asked about good photo op spots, I always respond: Leeper Park Island.  It’s easily one of my favorite spots in the city, which is why I’m always stunned when I’m met with the response: “Great! Where’s that??” In other conversations, I’ve often heard people lamenting the…