Name: Neil T
Name: Neil T
Take a sec. If you’re interested in living downtown, do the survey! Or get on the priority list!
Rally your contacts to ‘vote’ and…
Earn consideration for your ‘Likes’
Name: Neil T
Help us get to 400 ‘Likes’, representing 400 people that provide the evidence that there is a demand for living in a downtown that looks like this. We’ve set a March 30 deadline so we can then use this to attract residential developers.
Name: Neil T
If you’re interested in living downtown, simply ‘Like’ (vote for) one of the eight residential choices displayed here. Only one ‘Like’ per member will count! You can get to the eight housing choices via the blue banner below.
Name: Neil T
As the 1600+ entries in this blog provide evidence for, emerging generations are moving into downtowns, driving less, walking more, living in smaller homes they can actually afford, preferring local businesses and slower food, prioritizing health,going green and valuing community and social networking like never before. It keeps coming up again and again, that the one amenity that does a remarkable job of fulfilling these values is the timeless piazza.
Based largely on the introduction in the book, Piazza: Italy’s Heart and Soul, here’s a look at what being in a piazza is all about, circa 2011:
The piazza is the heart and soul of a town. It is where the town comes alive. It never sleeps; it is filled with the sounds and smells of local life at almost every hour of the day. Yet it is also much more than just a neighborhood square – it is a living, breathing entity with a distinct personality. A day in the piazza overflows with music, romance, laughter, aromas of fresh coffee or bread baking, and the richness of local culture.
Entering a piazza can be like stepping back in time. The noise and distraction of moving vehicles, ubiquitous throughout the city, are absent. Beautifully crafted buildings share the square with bustling cafes and shops. It is often the most picturesque spot in town. There is something special about the light in a piazza – it can have an almost dreamlike quality and glows with a warmth and vitality that is unique to the city.
People of all ages come to the local piazza to see and be seen. They congregate to hear the latest gossip and to spend time with family and friends. For some, it would be hard to say which is more important – a kitchen with a big communal table or the local piazza.
For many, life in the piazza starts at an early age. Children first come in strollers or baby carriages. Men and women of all ages coo over the children. As soon as they can toddle, kids start chasing pigeons in the square and learn to play with other kids.
Children use the piazza as a personal playground. Often grandmother or grandfather is there to assist. It is a place where young children can play and learn under the supervision of family and the entire community. Young boys and girls eagerly look forward to weekend outings to the piazza where friendships form and flourish. It is the cornerstone of social life in the city.
Young adults grow up spending a lot of time in the piazza – watching a movie or the big game on a giant screen, taking it all in at concerts and festivals, even exerting themselves via climbing walls and ice skating rinks – and then bring their own families to the square later in life. Many people have found love and met spouses there. It is not uncommon to see young lovers strolling through a piazza, holding hands. Weddings take place in the piazza.
In addition to being the social center of town, the piazza is also a bustling marketplace for fruits and vegetables, crafts and art, and an endless array of other goods. Non-motorized pedestrian streets with charming shops often lead into the piazza and life tends to spill out into them. There is always at least one local coffeehouse in or near the piazza.
In the late afternoon and evening the market crowds are usually replaced with those for outdoor cafes, bars, restaurants that bring people together to talk, mingle, and watch other people. Later in the night, cafes compete with one another for patrons to listen to live music that fills the piazza with wonderful sounds.
On many occasions, modern-day street performers entertain people in the piazza across a wide spectrum of the arts. Mimes, people mimicking statues, acrobats, singer, and musicians playing a myriad of instruments all compete for attention. The piazza is the town’s central stage or outdoor theater.
Piazze are also hubs of political activity. Throngs of people fill a town’s square during rallies for political parties or causes. Sometimes important referendum committees organize concerts in piazze. The media occasionally uses the piazza as a background for interviews with local politicians.
When the piazza is not teeming with people during special events and celebrations, life follows certain rhythmical patterns. On weekdays many older people typically mill around the piazza, watching people, engaging in animated conversations with friends, or playing cards. During the winter they follow the sun around the piazza and in the summer months they chase the shade.
Sunday mornings are a special time in the piazza. Churchgoers like to stop at the local cafe to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. Men and women sit, surrounded by others on their smartphones and iPads, completely engrossed. Some cafe regulars perch at tables for hours with their laptops. On Sundays it is common to see multi-generational families spending time together in the piazza.
Cafes in the piazza are very important meeting spots. Most people, who live nearby, stop for a morning coffee on the way to work. The cafes are typically buzzing with activity, whether it is workers taking a break or people gathering after a long day to meet friends, swap stories, or play a lively card game.
Those entrepreneurs who overlook this live stage in second floor workplaces are continuously grateful they’re immersed in culture that inspires them on a daily basis. So are the young-at-heart singles and couples living in studio apartments above, the active types who can’t sleep at night if it’s too quiet.
Saturday and Sunday evenings are the most popular times, when the piazza comes alive and throbs with activity. People of all ages fill the square, carrying on animated discussions, as if the piazza were the town living room. It is during times like this that the vibrancy and passion of the piazza is most palpable.
There is only one piazza designed to function as an authentic piazza in the U.S.; the Piazza in Philadelphia. It’s not the most beautiful architecturally, but it is a true piazza in that it’s completely enclosed by buildings on all sides without any streets running through it and is regarded as the heart of the community. Expect this decade to witness a renaissance of piazzas. Most recently, it was voted as the #1 most desired downtown amenity in Bristol, Connecticut. Why? Because they were given a piazza as an option to even vote on. Try providing it as a possibility in your city – you’ll see.
Image of Piazza Anfiteatro, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy by Linda Yvonne.
Name: Neil T
Trendwatching.com recognizes the rising trend of downtown living in cities as…
Citysumers – The hundreds of millions (and growing!) of experienced and sophisticated urbanites (with disposable income), from San Francisco to Shanghai to São Paulo, who are ever more demanding and more open-minded, but also more proud, more connected, more spontaneous and more try-out-prone, eagerly snapping up a whole host of new urban goods, services, experiences, campaigns and conversations.”
Sounds like Bristol Rising perhaps?
Trendwatching summarizes this outgoing urban mindset as ‘maturialism’ – “Thoroughly exposed to (if not participating in) an uncensored, opinionated and raw world (especially online!), experienced consumers no longer tolerate being treated like yesteryear’s easily shocked, inexperienced, middle-of-the-road audiences. Able to handle much more honest conversations, more daring innovations, more quirky flavors, more risqué experiences, these consumers increasingly appreciate brands that push the boundaries.”
So, what are the results of citysumer maturial culture? Bike sharing, electric car sharing, neighbor car sharing, Foursquare, Groupon/Living Social, Yelp!, outdoor movies and concerts, building projection art, pedestrian-only zones, piazzas, outdoor concerts in piazzas (pictured above), ciclovias, rooftop community gardens, pop-up retail… all of which are regularly featured on this site. See dozens more examples at the Citysumer page, albeit a lot more consumption oriented.
Sounds like Bristol Rising Survey perhaps?
Name: Neil T
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OL6_jbLLtg (Live concert)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQRcaKXy2xE (A live concert)
Name: Neil T
The 5 ‘most liked’ comments will appear at the top. You can also sort by newest or oldest comments, with newest now being the default.
This will allow Bristol Rising members and Renaissance to better evaluate the ideas and in more detail, by understanding which features of a particular idea are the most supported.
Have fun with it!
Name: Neil T
Originally posted on Cooltown Studios by Neil Takemoto
With the Gen Y generation, the largest demographic in U.S. history with 83-85 million born 1981-1989, coming of home-buying age, what is this going to mean for housing and the American Dream? The future looks pretty bright from a sustainability point of view…
More apartments. Using a recent Canadian housing study, “Drivers of Apartment Living in Canada for the Twenty-First Century“, which parallels trends in the U.S., one can see in the top graph on the left that apartments are on the rise. Why? They can’t afford to buy, as you can see in the middle graph. They haven’t built up their wealth to buy yet, and with the economic downturn, 30% are unemployed. School debt is also much larger, averaging $23,000, and banks now loan to people that can actually pay them back. It also means sharing apartments via multiple bedrooms to split the rent. They’re also delaying marriage, so no single-family suburban home with white picket fence. See “Renting the Dream” by Richard Florida.
Smaller homes. Why? They can’t afford anything larger, and besides, small is the new big, or micro lofts are the new mcmansions. 250 and 270 s.f. isn’t unheard of, and cities are changing their rules to accommodate them. Why not, if you can own your home in the neighborhood of your dreams. Ah, there’s the difference… it’s not about the dream home, but the dream neighborhood. Gen Yers are motivated by experiences (in an experience economy), not consumption, or home size. Smaller homes and apartments are both less expensive and easier to maintain, leaving more time and money for enjoying those experiences.
Walkable, urban, transit-oriented. For Gen Yers, driving isn’t part of the American Dream anymore. Being connected is. That means walkable and transit-oriented, and that means downtowns and cities. Also, as far as connecting face-face, town squares and piazzas are the ultimate connectors in the built environment, especially with outdoor movies/dining/concerts in them.
Change is now. There is no waiting. If you have attainably-priced, walkable, urban, transit-oriented two-three bedroom apartments and micro lofts, Gen Yers are ready to move in asap, as the bottom graph shows. They’ll look online to find a job online that accommodates their living preferences, no more commuting… they not only can’t afford a car, they don’t want one.
An addition, based on a survey and illustrated in the graphic above, over one third of Gen Yers currently own their own home, and two-thirds expect to own their residences within five years, including over half the people who will still be in their 20s in 2015. Read more at the Urban Land Institute article, “Generation Y: America’s New Housing Wave”.
Name: Neil T
Americans for the Arts, a national nonprofit, obviously agrees with this. The facts from their “Arts and Economic Prosperity III” report may be more compelling: the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity annually, provides 5.7 million full-time jobs in the U.S. and generates nearly $30 billion in revenue for federal, state, and local governments every year where government spend less than $4 billion annually to support the arts (a 7:1 return).
The ULI also provides the following examples:
Miami. An investment in the restoration of art deco hotels in South Beach lead to a tourism boom, and ultimately an art fair in 2002, Art Basel, now considered with its founding sister event in Switzerland as the most prestigious art fair in the world. In 2009, its 40,000 attendees generated almost half a billion in economic activity. That in turn spawned 15 to 20 satellite fairs that helped the revitalization of the light-industrial Wynwood District, now hosting over 90 galleries and numerous restaurants. Feeding into and out of this momentum, developer Craig Robins invested in several blocks of derelict buildings north of Wynwood and created a district of interior design studios, restaurants, retail and open spaces, now known as the prestigious Miami Design District, hosting Design Miami, today the most important design show in North America.
Boston. Here it’s all about the housing. The Artist Space Initiative is a city housing program that legislates policies allowing artists to reside in industrial areas, Boston’s Center for the Arts provides artists with affordable studios in the South End, catalyzing further vitality and investment.
New York City. The Ford Foundation provides a $100 million, ten-year grant to support arts spaces and housing because it believes it “can play a significant role in boosting local economies.”
Denver. In 1989 voters approved the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) and a 0.01% sales tax for the arts, whose $42 million in funds in 2007 sparked nearly $1.7 billion in total economic activity in the region, $331 million was generated from cultural tourism. Taxes paid in 2007 from arts, cultural, and scientific nonprofits totaled $21.3 million.
Chicago. It’s $500 million public/private investment in Millennium Park is estimated to add $1.4 billion in value to the adjacent real estate over the next ten years.
In a 2010 report, “Creative Placemaking”, one of the most effective creative placemaking reports ever produced, Ann Markusen and Ann Gadwa for the National Endowment of the Arts provide the following 14 case studies:
- Cleveland, Ohio’s Gordon Square Arts District
- Creative Entrepreneur Project, San José, California
- Artspace Buffalo Lofts, Buffalo, New York
- City of Music, Seattle, Washington
- Rural hub of cultural activity, Arnaudville, Louisiana
- TriMet’s Interstate MAX Public Art Program, Portland, Oregon
- Paducah, Kentucky Artist Relocation Program
- Remaking Los Angeles, California’s Hollywood
- Art as healing, Fond du Lac Reservation, Minnesota
- Art and technology 01SJ Biennial, San José, California
- After School Matters, Chicago, Illinois
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s Mural Arts Program
- Phoenix, Arizona Public Art Program
- Mayors and artists partnerships, Providence, Rhode Island
Finally, what are the key ingredients in creative placemaking success? The report provides its six Components of Successful Arts-Oriented Placemaking Initatives, as follows:
1. Creative Initiator – Finding that one person or small team that starts it all.
2. Designing Around Distinctiveness – Build on existing expertise and characteristics of place.
3. Mobilizing [Government Will] – If your city government isn’t supportive, good luck.
4. Garnering Private Sector Support – If no one’s looking to invest in it, good luck.
5. Securing Arts Community Engagement – This is more than working with arts leaders, this is about crowdsourcing the time and investment of thousands of its patrons.
6. Building Partnerships – Figuring out a way for all of the above to work together.
So, who’s your community’s Creative Initiator?…
Name: Neil T
You’ll see either one of these indicators on each idea page on the survey site. Make sure you and the people you’re telling know if they’ve actually voted for an idea or not!
Name: Neil T
Click on the flyer below to download a copy (pdf) that you can print and distribute!
Don’t forget that you can pick up mini Bristol Rising cards at the City Hall office to pass out as well.
Reply if you’d like a version geared specifically toward one of the top public amenity vote getters.
Name: Neil T
Crowdsourced placemaking is a fun and exciting way people can help shape the kinds of places in their neighborhoods that they are enthusiastic about.
To understand what crowdsourced placemaking is in depth, let’s answer the most commonly asked questions…
What is crowdsourcing?
It’s “the act of outsourcing tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community, through an open call.“
What is placemaking?
It’s “the way in which people transform the places they find themselves into the places where they live; the art of creating public ‘places of the soul,‘ that uplift and help us connect to each other.“
Placemaking as presented by First+Main Media.
Crowdsourced placemaking is…
“the act of taking development traditionally performed by real estate institutions and sourcing it to a large, undefined community with shared values in the form of an open call, to transform the
places we find ourselves into the places where we live, as ‘places of the soul’ that uplift and help us connect to each other.”
What are examples of crowdsourcing?
Encyclopedia publishing at Wikipedia. Video production at YouTube. Product reviews at Amazon. Product development at quirky.com and crowdspirit.com. Project funding and finance at kickstarter.com and kiva.com. Software development via Linux.
Has crowdsourcing been applied to placemaking before?
The closest example would be cohousing, though this typically isn’t done via an open call, applies to only one residential building at a time, and already has defined rules. The neighborhood of Vauban
in Freiburg, Germany, is a car-free community of 5000 people that is a hybrid of cohousing and crowdsourcing. A restaurant and a coworking space are being crowdsourced in the U.S.
How are decisions involving the crowd made?
If the crowd is crowdfunding the project, decisions are often made democratically via vote on survey. With projects where the crowd has no financial commitment upfront, decisions must ultimately be made by the financing sponsor through a democratic-oriented process. These decisions are based on an agreement between the crowd and the financing sponsor, where the crowd agrees to help ensure a market for the final product, and the financing sponsor agrees to provide the product that the market truly wants. If the crowd feels they aren’t being listened to enough, they will not support the project accordingly. Thus, it is in the financing sponsor’s best interests to make decisions based on formally recognized crowd input, such as via surveys, voting and consensus.
Who can join the crowdsourced placemaking community?
Anyone, since crowdsourcing is by definition an open call. However, crowdsourcing is based on a community with a shared vision and values, and it’s up to the financing sponsor to identify what those are at the very beginning. So, while technically anyone can join, the intention is to focus on those with a shared vision and values. This fosters a very positive atmosphere.
Why participate in the crowdsourced placemaking community?
To have a say in what gets built in your neighborhood, rather than accept whatever real estate developers decide to put there, which often follows their own best interests.
What happens if someone in the crowd becomes overly critical or negative?
This underscores the importance of defining a shared vision and values upfront, as people are much less likely to be negative of such a project. This is also why the more the project’s vision is triple-bottom-line (economically, socially, environmentally) oriented, the more shared values people will have with the project, and the less critical they will be. Once you build trust within your community, they will rise up and address the negativity on their own.
How long will the crowdsource placemaking community exist?
As long as the crowd wants. Programming of places can be crowdsourced indefinitely.
Where can I learn more about crowdsourced placemaking?
You can visit the official blog for crowdsourced placemaking at cooltownstudios.com
Name: Neil T
The video below provides a window into the crowdsourcing process. Ideas to whet the crowd’s appetite are thrown out, as the image above shows, with one idea allowing artists to transform the facade periodically. You can actually participate in the crowdsourcing process yourself on their website (they encourage people from all over the country, and as in Elements’ case, people from all around the world) – they’re currently providing successive weekly polls to narrow down what the theme of the restaurant should be.
Important project specs:
- The building is already secured, a former fire fighter-themed diner with 24 seats. Having the building under control is absolutely necessary if you’re looking at an expedited process.
- Crowdsourced decisions to be made: The name, logo, branding, interior design, exterior colors, design and face of building look, menu ideas, menu price range. These can obviously vary by project.
- None of the founding team has any significant restaurant experience.
- Comments are hosted via Facebook, Twitter and the website, though no discussions forums at this time.
Why crowdsource a restaurant? Check out “How local indies can compete with national chains”. Keep in mind that if you’re an entrepreneur where your individual artistry comes first, crowdsourcing probably isn’t for you. But if it’s about serving and inspiring the community, then absolutely yes.
Read more about the project in The Daily Crowdsource.
Name: Neil T
Name: Neil T