As the summer bumbles to a close and we embrace the impending cool autumn ahead, we’ve been using our storytelling skills to celebrate the notion of placemaking. There is a growing movement around placemaking, whether on a local level like the wonderful Granby Four Streets (covered in the Ethos Magazine ‘People Power’ special) or globally, like the work being done by the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) in the United States.
Placemaking is taking the time-honoured tradition of community spirit and allowing it to flourish in a post-globalisation world. It puts the power back in the hands of ordinary people, and allows them to give back and provide for the many families and friends in a certain area. Placemaking is also vital to the growth of new areas, by having a plan and a purpose for development, rather than just development for development’s sake. Just look at the work being done in the Baltic Triangle and Cains Brewery Village here in Liverpool.
We’ve been working on the latest edition of the Baltic Manifesto – a visioning document for the Baltic Triangle. It’s a celebration of the area at large and its inhabitants, while also being an investment document – not just from a financial perspective, but to entice people and businesses to move in to the area, to invest time and put on events.
But it is in the stories and the celebration of values that makes a place ‘a place’. From the Icknield Port Loop and Birmingham canals – that we worked on with Urban Splash and Smiling Wolf – to the many hidden nuggets to be discovered about the Wirral, it’s the recanting of tales that can keep a place alive and true, or remind people of what they had at their doorstep all along.
Want to help ‘make a place’ or just restart your local community? Here are a few suggestions how:
- Shop locally – Ignore the big chains and brands, we’re not as reliant on them as they like to think we are. Shopping locally not only rejuvenates communities, but helps build bonds and friendships, and half the time the goods on sale are better than mass produced mulch anyway.
- Organise something – Doesn’t matter how big or small, organise an event or a meeting that can bring people together. Could be a street party, a fair, or just a getting to know you event, who knows what these can lead to.
- Think outside the box – Is there something your area is crying out for, but you just don’t know it yet? What could put your community on the map? A community cinema, a tiny bowling alley, an artisanal stew shed? What would be fun, engaging, and would serve the community?
- Regular hubs – Make somewhere the focal point of your neighbourhood, somewhere where people can regularly convene, drop-in, make suggestions, or muck in.