There is a growing awareness around the country that something is wrong and that change is needed. An increasing number of communities around the US are beginning to realize that the modern focus on wider, straighter and faster travel via a single mode – the automobile – has produced unintended consequences for their citizens. Congestion is rampant, Americans die on our roads at the rate of almost 3,000 a month, parents are afraid to let their children walk down the streets, and new communities have no soul. Obesity and its related diseases are rampant, dependence on imported oil makes us vulnerable to the economics of oil price, and climate change is not being sufficiently addressed. Furthermore, streets are no longer viewed as places, which is a huge loss given that streets can take up as much as one-third of a community’s land.
Communities are also recognizing that conventional planning, which is top down, time consuming, difficult to engage in, and often leads to little or no change, is not meeting their needs.
Project for Public Spaces offers an alternative: Community and Place-based Planning. By focusing on place, our approach breaks down silos and makes conversation simple enough to allow everyone to contribute, as opposed to discipline driven processes that can be too complex and intimidating. Most of all, place-based planning and investment restores confidence and creates pride in community and neighborhoods.