PPS can work with both the public and the private sectors – both developers and municipalities – to ensure that all public spaces in a new development are integrated into the fabric of the community, bringing life to all aspects of the development. We assist in the design of buildings, storefronts, transit hubs and civic uses that will support the public spaces and ensure their success. With our expertise in transportation, public markets, parks and public buildings, we bring a holistic approach to the entire development, particularly in the following areas:
To function as a successful urban environment, the new community should be made up of destinations, and each destination should offer many things to do. We call this concept the Power of Ten: to be successful, a community should have at least ten great places, and each place should have ten different things to do there. This diversity of places and activities ensures that a community will attract the people who will make it a successful place. PPS will help a development team not only determine what those ten destinations will be, but also assist developing a program of activities and uses for each public space. We firmly believe that the success of public spaces can largely be attributed to the activities, events, recreational uses and social gatherings that take place there, whether planned or spontaneous, and not to a fixed design. Since commercial areas and civic uses will be a critical component in the success of a mixed-use development, we will also advise how retail, restaurants and civic buildings can enhance public spaces and vice versa.
We strongly recommend involving the community and other stakeholders in the planning process through a Placemaking Workshop. Our Placemaking approach ensures that a developer will be building public spaces that achieve the goals that matter most to a community in the long term. The Placemaking process will also help to put the development team, the City and its citizens on the same page regarding an overall vision for the project and long-term goals for the public spaces. This could break down barriers among interest groups and forge a common approach that will optimize the interests of all parties.
Community Placemaking Workshops
PPS workshops typically involve a presentation introducing the principles of making great public spaces, followed by small breakout groups that explore issues in depth. Often PPS’s Place Performance Evaluation “Game”© is used in this process. The “Place Game” is a short, user-friendly exercise that synthesizes PPS’ observation, interview and analysis techniques for people to use along with their own common sense and intuition for a quick, but productive, on-site assessment. Based on their findings and results from the Game, the groups then work together to develop a vision for what the place could be. This exercise gives participants an opportunity to observe on-site conditions for themselves and understand the dynamics and needs of a particular site within a structured context, allowing them to very quickly see the qualities of the place and it’s potential. By shaping this vision together, the development team, the city and its citizens will be on the same page for the project and the long-term goals for the public spaces. This process breaks down barriers among interest groups and forges a common approach that optimizes the interests of all parties.
Implement the Vision
Working with the designers, we will provide advice and expertise in the layout and design of the public spaces, including parks and plazas, streets, buildings, storefronts, markets and amenities. We will particularly contribute in the following areas of concern:
- Flexibility: Public spaces must respond to the changing needs of a community over time. Their design, therefore, should be flexible and responsive rather than fixed and static. We will help develop a strategy that will allow for the evolution of the public spaces as the development grows and changes.
- Access: Access and linkages also play a major role in creating vibrant public spaces. We will help to optimize pedestrian, transit, bicycle and vehicular mobility and access. We can help in the design of streets and boulevards that enhance the adjacent land uses and increase mobility for all users, not just cars.
- Amenities: PPS has studied the role of seating, lighting, shade and landscaping – in short the amenities that make people feel safe and comfortable in a public space – and we will bring this experience to the table to assist the designers.
- Ground Floors: PPS will help the development team in the design of storefronts, restaurants, public buildings and other ground floor uses that bring vitality to the streets and enhance the success of the retail and other commercial uses.
- Images: PPS has collected more than half a million images of good public spaces around the world that can serve as inspiration and models for the spaces that we help you create. Through our PowerPoint presentations filled with images of these models, we can ensure that the development team and the stakeholders together create and maintain a consistent, shared vision of the product we all would like to see.
PPS will assist the development team and the City in developing an effective management strategy. We have learned from our 30 years of experience that management contributes as much as 80% to the success of a park or main street. Indeed, it is more important than design in ensuring that a space is safe, comfortable and well-used.