In the day and age of social distancing and Coronavirus, it is becoming ever more apparent how little space we have allocated in our cities and suburbs to pedestrians and cyclists. Oftentimes, it is simply impossible to be six feet apart on our sidewalks as they are simply too narrow. Meanwhile, traffic counts are way down, and many of our asphalt-lined streets are virtually empty. It is indeed time to rethink the balance – or, rather, shift things back into balance so that our streets can be shared by all. On Tuesday, July 28, We’ll be co-leading a hands-on workshop on doing precisely just that. Sponsored by NorCal APA, we will lead folks through two interactive exercises involving childhood memories and model-building to come up with creative ideas for more walkable, bikable streets.
Yep, it’s official: we’re writing a book – along with James Rojas of Place it! The book’s topic will, in a nutshell, be about creative, hands-on, and sensory-based ways of doing community engagement for urban design, landscape, and planning projects. We’re at an all-hands-on-deck moment with so many issues in our country and world at this point and time, so engaging everyone in the process – regardless of background, language ability, culture – is critical. More details as they come.
For this year’s annual Transit + Design workshops at SPUR in San Francisco, we will be leading an interactive, model-building workshop on rethinking the Bay Area’s transit system so that it is efficient, comfortable, and easy to navigate for all users, regardless of gender, cultural background, or sexual orientation. All are welcome to attend. For more info, click HERE.
The prevailing adage goes that our infrastructure reflects our values. Thus our transportation systems, with their high investment in roads and personal auto ownership, and low investment in rail and other transit networks, reflect our cultural propensity towards the individual and our reluctance to embrace a more collective cultural model. Yet what if this adage is wrong? What if the infrastructure we see does not so much reflect our cultural values but instead reflects the limited ways in which we plan and conduct outreach for our transportation systems in the first place?
While we’ve been working with Place It! Interactive Planning for some time, we are now launching a new set of workshops with a specific landscape focus. Through these interactive model-building workshops, participants are able to explore memory and ideas of place and belonging. From there, participants work to build what they would like to see in a landscape, all the while trying to infuse those memories of place and belonging into their designs. The result is design recommendations for design teams and municipalities that not only have greater depth than what would come out of a conventional outreach process (re: merely asking people what they want) but also are the result of a more inclusive and welcoming process, as in these workshops there is no right answer, and everyone has a chance to share, not just the most vocal of the crowd.
We’ve already done landscape workshops for new parks in Oregon, Texas, and Minnesota. And we’re in the midst of doing more. Contact us!