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PPS Park Projects Spur Downtown Development in Houston and Detroit

Megan MacIver
Aug 15, 2010
Dec 20, 2017

A recent Washington  Post article by JoAnne Greco of The City Traveller focuses on the power of parks to spur economic growth for an entire city- and uses two PPS projects, Houston's Discovery Green and Detroit's Campus Martius, as benchmarks for success.

Park features like this fountain at Discovery Green keep visitors of all ages coming back year-round to Houston's once quiet downtown core. Flickr photo by AlphaTangoBravo/Adam Baker

Often, downtowns hard-hit by disinvestment turn to sports arenas or  performing arts venues for an economic boost. Yet as this article  shows,  parks, not stadiums, are responsible for invigorating depressed  cores. Alive with year-round programming and activities,  these thriving  Public Multi-Use Destinations are treasured by the local community and generate millions of dollars of investment,  proving there can be an Upside of a Down Economy, as PPS President Fred Kent explains in this Urban Land Institute article.

The Washington Post is not the first major newspaper to highlight the potential for parks like Campus Martius to generate true prosperity over the long-haul: just last fall The Boston Globe wrote about how Discovery Green has drawn over a million visitors to downtown Houston while Boston's new Rose Kennedy Greenway still seems "placeless" and deserted.

From our experience working in more than 2,500 communities around the  world, PPS has known for years that the missing  ingredient in many discussions  about economic revitalization, job  creation, and sustainability is the fact that secure jobs  are tied to a  place.

Megan MacIver
Megan MacIver
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