Thursday, April 01, 2010


The art of creating places people are attracted to, uplifting the surrounding community; and an operating element of our vision for the Parkway, is the mission of the Project for Public Spaces, which has a new newsletter out.

An excerpt.

“Concern over jobs has been a constant refrain in politics, business and everyday conversation for decades, becoming even more urgent during the current economic crisis. Yet, for all the intense discussion of the subject, the local job-creation strategies pushed forward by politicians, business leaders and economists narrowly focus on luring new companies, developments or tourist attractions to a community instead of leveraging the substantial assets that exist within most communities. As a result, one city is pitted against all others, desperate to offer anything—free land, reckless tax breaks, low wages, etc.—to beat out potential competitors.

“Such a strategy might succeed in winning a few jobs over the short term, but that does not translate into genuine prosperity. From our experience working in more than 2,500 communities around the world, PPS came to realize the missing ingredient in most discussions about jobs—especially good, green jobs - is the fact that secure jobs are tied to a place. This is what truly generates prosperity and well-paid employment over the long haul.

“Making great places does not just mean that you are adding tourist attractions to your city,” explains Larry Lund, PPS Associate and a Chicago real estate consultant. “It’s way more powerful than that: it has to do with creating an environment that will be attractive for businesses,” places to host the dense organization and social complexity vital to the success of so many industries that create and sustain great jobs.

“After all, cities first emerged because people gathered together at crossroads, creating busy, vibrant places to exchange goods and ideas. Cities grew out of commerce. The same holds true today. Cities need great places that provide the settings for these kinds of interactions. This is what businesses seek. They want places that are attractive to employees, places where connections can happen, where productivity and creativity increase and where the professional networks foster collaboration and innovation.”