After two days in the conference on Project for Public Spaces our brains are saturated with ideas, we have met many, many people dedicated to the improvement of community and neighborhood and we are exhausted.
Attending this was the whole reason for our jaunt over the pond to Amsterdam. It was a hive of activity and food for much thought. Two big takeaways for me from the conference, are:
Clinton is doing everything right about placemaking and
Clinton Arts Center is the spark to start the renewal of life in downtown Clinton.
After hearing about the meetings sponsored by the village of Clinton, starting the village conversation about placemaking, rest assured, Clinton, you are well on your way to making it happen. Many conversations will be needed to make things happen in the heart of Clinton.
The two big things that attract people are people and food. Get a group people together around good food and let the good times roll. The conference planners demonstrated that every day of the conference with lunch, pastries between sessions, and beer after the session each day. So much conversation and so much fun. The one day that we had a false fire alarm, we were all convinced that it was a shortcut to active placemaking.
Arts East NY did a presentation about their initiatives east of Brooklyn. It is a massive neighborhood program to stop the land speculation. The neighborhood has pulled together to keep the community intact through the placemaking process. It was an impressive initiative.
The closing conversation of the conference was a panel discussion for the future of placemaking. The future of placemaking is to think of a place in terms of a larger entity not just a downtown or neighborhood as an isolated entity but a part of the city, county, region or state. Future solutions will be from the local community in the context of the community. Local governments need to be empowered to implement the solutions rather than be shackled with the bureaucracy of the state and federal governments.
In 40 years the global population will rise to 7 billion and then begin to drop. This will harm the children, the poor and the elderly, the gentile majority, the most. We must look to the aging population for knowledge and wisdom. We cannot isolate them and let them become a non-producing part of society. Our culture will lose too much by sidelining our elders.
Change is not a unanimous decision. The general interest must prevail. If you say no to something, that implies you have said yes to something else. The something else may not be obvious until it comes back to haunt us.