“Placemaking is the way in which all human beings transform theplaces they find themselves into the places where they live.”

In this groundbreaking new book, landscape architect Lynda H.Schneekloth and architect and planner Robert G. Shibley challengethe most fundamental assumptions about the ways human beingstransform the places in which they live. A call to action for amore inclusive, democratic approach to the design of human spaces,the authors use stories from their own practice to cast a new lighton the relationship between communities, design professionals, andthe shaping of their physical “places.” The stories they tellreveal techniques for generating a collaborative spirit that willhelp designers, planners, and community development professionalsunderstand the human values that lie at the heart of theirprofessions.

“To decide to be someplace as members of a community demands thatwe become active placemakers again, that we participate with othersin our communities in thoughtful, careful responsibleaction.”

The death of Main Street, the blight of the inner city, thesterility of so much contemporary development–these are effects ofa major disconnection between the human community and the builtenvironment. At no time in the history of our society has therebeen a more urgent need to take a hard look at how we createphysical environments. In response to this unmet need and moralconfusion, Placemaking: The Art and Practice of BuildingCommunities calls for a more dynamic, more inclusive design processand demonstrates new placemaking practices that have emerged fromdifferent communities and environments.

“Placemaking is the way in which all human beings transform theplaces they find themselves into the places where they live.”

Drawing on four actual “stories” from their own professionalpractice, the authors show how empowered communities, working in atrue democratic collaboration with planning and architectureprofessionals, can create places which not only support work andplay, but also help foster relationships between people. Thesestories represent a broad range of communities and physicalenvironments:

The First Baptist Church of Roanoke, Virginia–in rebuilding itschurch, a community struggles to define itself and the role of thechurch building within the community

The International Banking Institute–a story of change in theworkplace, group dynamics, and the ability of an organization tolearn about itself

The Roanoke Neighborhood Partnership–the creation of a new, morecollaborative relationship between neighborhood people, citygovernment, the private sector, and design professionals

The Rudy Bruner Award Program–an examination of what makes an”excellent” place and how the creative ability of communities cantransform problems into successful projects

“Placemaking consists of those daily acts of renovating,maintaining, and representing the places that sustain us . ..”

In telling these stories, the authors demonstrate how certainpractices–making a “dialogic space,” “the dialectic ofconfirmation and interrogation,” and “framing action”–can be usedto create, transform, maintain, and renovate the places in whichpeople live.

Placemaking: The Art and Practice of Building Communities is atruly visionary work that has its foundation in the daily lives ofspecific people and places. Its publication is bound to spark along overdue controversy among architects, planners, designers, andall people concerned with the well-being of communities.

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