What We’re Reading: From Dead Space to Public Space

Placemaking Globally, Tactical Urbanism, What We're Reading
How Improving Alleys Can Help Make Better Cities

“To most eyes, alleys are—at best—liminal zones. Inhabiting the space between “here” and “there,” they exist but for the grace of their adjacencies. At worst, they are dark, dank, and even dangerous—seen by city dwellers as dead space. However, to a visionary few, the negative space alleys occupy isn’t dead at all; it’s merely dormant, waiting for a rebirth into something functional and new.” – Matt Alderton

Read more about how cities are activating their underutilized alley spaces and creating welcoming public spaces on ArchDaily.com here!


Placemaking Resources: Vision Zero Cities 2016

Placemaking Resources, What to Read

Vision Zero, a multi-national road traffic safety program with a goal to achieve a highway system with zero fatalities or serious injuries, has released its first issue of Vision Zero Cities: the International Journal of Traffic Safety Innovation.

The link between the mission of Vision Zero and placemaking is undeniable. Each looks to create safer and more welcoming communities for residents to enjoy. This 60-page first issue is available for free download here!

What We’re Reading: Placemaking and Our Human Wellbeing in Cities

Placemaking Globally, What We're Reading

“Where we live determines our levels of happiness and wellbeing. From the design of our streets to the views from our apartments — all play a part in how we experience our day to day lives.” – Ash Blankenship

Read more about the effect of placemaking on our levels of happiness and wellbeing on Parksify.com here!

What We’re Reading: The Importance of Placemaking and Unlocking Community Capital

Funding Opportunities, What We're Reading

“In Europe and North America, millions of citizens are moving back to cities and denser urban areas. These interconnected networks have served as hubs of innovation for centuries, providing our societies with the best opportunities to succeed, leading to the creation of the world’s most innovative products, companies, and people. With the rapid growth and production of the automobile in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some people fled the rapid industrializing cities for rural life.” – Jonathan Berk

Read more from our friends at Massachusetts’ Commonwealth Places here!


Placemaking Resources: The “Tactical Urbanist’s Guide to Material and Design”

Placemaking Globally, Tactical Urbanism


Just this month, the Street Plans Collaborative, with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, released the Tactical Urbanist’s Guide to Materials and Design. This 132-page, free downloadable resource for any person, organization, or agency looking for ideas and information on how to create Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper projects with a variety of materials.

Download your free copy here!

What We’re Reading: What is a Walk Score?

City Planning, Placemaking Globally, What We're Reading

It’s not too difficult to identify neighborhood that are more “walkable” than others. Residential areas that are more dense, with more amenities are obviously more conducive to pedestrian travel than are widely disbursed neighborhoods with stores, schools, and other necessaries only accessible by car.


Researcher who are measuring a neighborhood’s walkability or “Walk Score” have found that not only do areas that are more accessible to pedestrian have higher health benefits to its residents, but that a higher Walk Score means a higher degree of public safety and property value.

To learn more, visit the Reliance Foundary’s “What is a Walk Score?” here!

What We’re Reading: 6 Cities That Have Transformed Their Highways into Urban Parks

Placemaking Globally, What We're Reading


“Building a highway in a city is often thought of as a solution to traffic congestion. However, the induced demand theory has shown that when drivers have more routes, they choose to continue using this medium instead of using public transport or a bicycle, and as a result, congestion doesn’t decrease.” – Constanza Martinez Gaete

Read more on Arch Daily here!

Public art and public transit collide in Chicago’s Loop

Placemaking Globally

Artist rendering of The Wabash Lights, running under the L in downtown Chicago. (The Wabash Lights)

Chicago’s elevated train system, the L, is an integral part of the city’s infrastructure and identity. When you enter into “the Loop” (the central business and entertainment district enclosed by the circling tracks of six of its eight elevated train lines), you pass under century old tracks, periodically host to the rumble of passing trains.

Indianapolis Duo Awarded $200k Placemaking Grant From ArtPlace America

Community Spotlight, News and Upcoming Events

Phyllis Viola Boyd and LaShawnda Crowe Storm of Indianapolis’ The House Poem Project. (photos by artists)

This past week, “RECLAIM,” a project that focuses on tackling unsafe neighborhood conditions on Indianapolis’ northwest side, was the recipient of a $200k grant from ArtPlace America’s 2016 National Creative Placemaking Fund.

Placemaking Grant Opportunity: Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community

Funding Opportunities, Tactical Urbanism

Spark on Monument Circle, organized by Big Car Collaborative and the City Market. – photo Tony Valainis, Indianapolis Monthly

Do you have an idea to make Indianapolis an even better city in which to live, work, and play, but need money to make it happen?  Then the Southwest Airline’s Heart of the Community grant may be the missing piece to your placemaking financing puzzle!