What is a Community Planning Center?

Community Planning Centers are customized websites designed by PPS whose purpose is to involve local people more directly and effectively in a public space project. Each website differs slightly depending on the goals of the project, but they all include as a foundation a description of the project goals; photos of the physical location; and information on local partners or sponsors.

The websites also provide a variety of interactive ways for people to give input and to get involved. For instance, area residents and employees can take a survey either via email or on the website itself; view and add to the results of community workshops; or use the site to donate money or find volunteer opportunities. Perhaps most important, the Community Planning Centers are linked to PPS’s extensive resource base, with research, projects and success stories, examples of amenities, and more.

How does a Community Planning Center enhance a project?

  • It provides a means to continue communication and information gathering, and keep the momentum of the project going.
  • It records and publicizes the findings of the PPS community workshop and Public Space Evaluation “Game,” and is used as a tool for gathering further ideas and opinions from visitors to the website.
  • It gives a real voice to people in a community – residents, workers, business owners, planners, and a range of other stakeholders, allowing them to share information and ideas about the development or revitalization of a place
  • It provides information and resources on improving neighborhoods and public spaces.
  • It fosters communication among the sponsoring organization(s), partners, community members and stakeholders, and ultimately, the decision-makers, planners and builders – meetings can be announced on the website and via email.
  • It empowers stakeholders and community groups to make short-term changes to a place and create networks that can participate in implementing a long-term vision for a place

Components of a Typical Community Planning Center

  • Description of the project and its partners, sponsors, or funders
  • PPS placemaking workshop results
  • “Comments” page for visitors’ ideas
  • Resources on design, maintenance, management and other public-space issues
  • Examples of other similar projects and public spaces
  • Discussion forums
  • Online or email surveys
  • Project Team page
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