How Far is Your City on the Road to Becoming a Great City?

Imagine interdisciplinary teams–park planners, traffic engineers, economic development experts–working together with local residents to realize a vision for the key places in their communities. Then imagine that process happening across multiple neighborhoods in your city. Strategically implemented, the cumulative effect of such a program would be enormous.

“Many local governments have a lot of barriers between departments. One of the most important things PPS did was to break down and eliminate those barriers. It was a total team.”
— Gil Penalosa
Strategic Leader, Planning and Building, Mississauga

That’s the crux of the Great Cities Initiative, PPS’s new program that applies our 30+ years of experience in improving transportation, parks, public markets and buildings to the wider mission of creating livelier neighborhoods, towns, cities, and regions.

As PPS has taken on more citywide and regional projects, we’ve found that our Placemaking process succeeds at this larger scale precisely because it encourages everyone to think small. Starting at the scale of an individual place allows a broad range of stakeholders to become involved and make meaningful contributions to the process. And by carefully selecting which places to improve with an eye towards maximizing their impact in the community, the effects resonate throughout the city or region.

The Great Cities Initiative expands our Placemaking techniques into a comprehensive yet flexible process cities can use to improve themselves, place by place, neighborhood by neighborhood.

And the Great Cities Initiative is not just about improving places. Using our New York City Campaign as a model, PPS is taking this initiative a step further–into city-wide advocacy. By building awareness, we help city agencies and local organizations representing many groups and platforms work together to achieve policy improvements on behalf of residents, with the overarching goal of creating better places to live.

Applied throughout a city or region, PPS’s Placemaking techniques can bring immense positive change to neighborhoods and public spaces, creating the kind of vital public life and community energy that has always been the most compelling reason people choose to live in cities.

If you are a mayor, community foundation, parks department commissioner or even a local citizen eager to implement the Great Cities Initiative in your town, city or region, call Ethan Kent at (212) 620 5660 or e-mail

Initiative: Great Cities was last modified: March 6th, 2012 by Project for Public Spaces
Tagged with →