Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Reclaiming our cities' public spaces

"That's public space. Nobody can us it." That was one Portland city official's response when Mark Lakeman and his neighbors first began building unauthorized gathering places in their neighborhood in 1996. To Lakeman, an urban designer, this seemed like a a fundamental misunderstanding of public space. Together with his neighbors, he formed the City Repair Project, a volunteer-run nonprofit that set out to change the way Portlanders think about the places where people come together. Starting by redesigning their own intersection, the group went on to organize neighbors, build benches, and paint streets throughout the city. Now, neighborhoods around the country are trying out City Repair's methods, and the city of Portland even passed an ordinance allowing neighborhoods to build gathering places in street in tersections! [ more ]

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