1. The Community is the Expert: The important starting point in developing a concept for any public space is to identify the talents and assets within our community. In any community, there are people who can provide a historical perspective, valuable insights into how the area functions, and an understanding of the critical issues and what is meaningful to people. Tapping this information at the beginning of the process will help to create a sense of community ownership in the project that can be of great benefit to both the project sponsor and the community
2. Learn and Improve by Observing: We can all learn a great deal from others’ successes and failures. By looking at how neighbors are using (or not using) our spaces and finding out what they like and don’t like about them, it is possible to assess what makes them work or not work. Through these observations, it will be clear what kinds of activities are missing and what might be incorporated. And when the spaces are built, continuing to observe them will teach even more about how to evolve and manage them over time.
3. Have a Vision: The vision needs to come from the community. However, essential to a vision for any public space is an idea of what kinds of activities might be happening in the space, a view that the space should be comfortable and have a good image, and that it should be an important place where people want to be. It should instill a sense of pride in the people who live and work in the surrounding area.
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