At the end of a sweltering Louisville summer in 2014, a City Collaborative initiative called ReSurfaced used a Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper approach in temporarily transforming a 16,000 square-foot vacant downtown lot into a pop-up plaza including a beer garden, café, and outdoor space. From Thursday to Sunday, from September 19th to October 25th in 2014, the lot became an all-day event site and public destination—with business people flocking to food trucks for lunch, young people swarming to see local bands, DJs, and poetry slams in the evening, and families and couples arriving for outdoor movies and table tennis at night. The event, inspired by a similar project in Memphis called the Tennessee Brewery Untapped, aimed to create not just a unique destination for the city, but a point of departure for projects and conversations about revitalizing Louisville’s underused spaces. In addition to its vibrant retail and exhibition spaces, the site also became a classroom for innovators. BlueSky Network, for example, showed up with their “maker-mobile”—a mini tech shop on wheels—to help to inspire creative action among visitors. The commercial success of ReSurfaced also demonstrated the economic potential and benefit of incrementally activating a community’s underperforming spaces.
*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.
On April 22nd, Milwaukee was announced as one of the six 2015 Heart of the Community cities. Over the next six months, the local project team and PPS used “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper” (LQC) Placemaking principles to ensure that the The Spot 4MKE continued to be a collaborative, inclusive, and community-led project.