Abandoned lots and litter-strewn sidewalks, or rows of green beans and pockets of wildflowers? Graffiti-marked walls and desolate bus stops, or shady refuges and comfortable seating? What transforms a dingy, inhospitable area into a dynamic gathering place? How do individuals take back their neighborhood?
Neighborhoods decline when the people who live there lose their connection and no longer feel part of their community. Recapturing that sense of belonging and pride of place can be as simple as planting a civic garden or placing some benches in a park.
The Great Neighborhood Book explains how any community can be improved and enlivened, not by vast infusions of cash, not by government, but by the people who live there. Through real-life stories, this book addresses such challenges as traffic control, crime, comfort and safety, and developing economic vitality. Offering compelling evidence of how people in communities have enhanced their own neighborhoods through “Placemaking” — the PPS term for the process of transforming public space — this exciting guide offers inspiring real-life examples that show the magic that happens when individuals take small steps, and motivate others to make change.
This book is a must-read not only for neighborhood activists and concerned citizens but also for urban planners, developers and policy-makers.
What people are saying about The Great Neighborhood Book:
“Here’s a Declaration of Independence for America’s neighborhoods. It shows how it hardly matters how rich or poor you are, or whether City Hall recognizes your zip code or not. The building blocks for great place-making are revealed and explained — for you to build on.”
– Neal Peirce, Citistates Group and Washington Post Writers Group
“We’re often told that regular people have no power anymore. But when they get together with their neighbors to work on important issues in their own backyard, anything is possible. Jay Walljasper regales us with stories of folks all over the country who have rolled up their sleeves to make big changes to their neighborhood — and the world. So, read on, get riled up, roll up your sleeves…and take power.”
– Jim Hightower, author of Thieves in High Places and The Hightower Lowdown
“The willful destruction of public life in America has been so stupendous that heroic efforts must now be mounted to restore it. This includes especially the actual places where public life may dwell and thrive. The Great Neighborhood Book is a superb manual for this campaign — to take back the places where our buildings meet the street.”
– James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency and The Geography of Nowhere