Nationwide (1999 – present)
Client: U.S. General Services Administration, Public Buildings Service, Center for Urban Development
As a contractor for GSA’s Good Neighbor Program, PPS works to help create safe, attractive, and people-friendly public spaces around courthouses, post offices, and other buildings owned and leased by the country’s largest urban landholder. The goal of these efforts is to leverage GSA real estate, both new development and rehabilitation of existing properties, as a catalyst for redevelopment or revitalization in urban areas.
PPS enters into this process at a number of junctures, and in a number of ways, depending on the building and the city. We provide community-based placemaking workshop services; facilitate meetings between GSA and key partners and stakeholders to negotiate on issues that extend beyond GSA property lines; and produce a variety of graphic products, including conceptual plans, reports, and posters. All are geared to helping GSA and community stakeholders envision new or revitalized public spaces that will draw a variety of people, uses, and activities.
We have worked in this capacity in over two dozen cities, ranging from Montpelier, VT – where workshop participants identified a number of small-scale improvements that restored the community function to a post office – to Omaha, NB, where the development of a National Park Service facility on the Missouri Riverfront offered an opportunity for the city to create a long-term vision for a world-class waterfront, in partnership with GSA and private-sector developers.
As a part of this program, PPS worked with the GSA to revitalize the plaza in front of the newly renovated Department of Education’s headquarters in Washington, DC. The vision for the space includes design improvements, public amenities, and education-related activities. We have also improved linkages with neighbors like The National Air and Space Museum, and made short-term improvements such as new plantings, food kiosks, and a quiet area with tables, chairs and game tables. The medium term sets the stage for ongoing educational programming like innovative educational playgrounds, interactive exhibits, museum events, and student exhibits.