While it is critical to work at the state and national levels, we also need to foster innovation at the local level, leveraging the passion and commitment of local citizens, governments, and funders. This could include helping small towns or suburban communities design streets that respect neighborhood context; or working with a large city to truly transform how they plan for urban streets as social spaces; or even in international locales that can provide valuable lessons and best practices.
PPS has already begun to support innovation and transportation reform at the community level. For instance, PPS is working in Chicago with the Metropolitan Planning Council to institutionalize placemaking and ensure that the local transportation agencies are a part of this process. Additionally, Gary Toth has worked in Hartford, Connecticut with the Hub of Hartford Committee. They are trying to influence Connecticut DOT to study replacement of an elevated Interstate freeway that runs through the city with a new facility that would both knit the redeveloping downtown back together and still address the transportation needs of regional and local I-84 traffic.
PPS is also continuing to support valuable vehicles for grassroots change such as Streetsblog and StreetFilms. These online tools grew out of the collaborative New York City Streets Renaissance Campaign, which advocates for re-imagining New York City’s streets as lively public spaces.
To continue to foster local innovation at the local level, PPS will undertake the following activities:
- Through private funding, PPS will continue to provide assistance to selected communities in which a short intervention can help to support innovative projects and programs at the local community level. Ultimately, we envision creating a team of individuals who can help provide assistance in a number of areas. We will complete assignments in 3-4 communities as a test of this approach.
- PPS is seeking to collaborate with local community and family foundations in 4-6 cities to launch local campaigns around Streets as Places. The intent is to use these local communities as pilot programs and “communities of practice” that can serve as models for other cities as the campaign develops.