A recent article released by the Project for Public Spaces, entitled “The Re-Emergence of the Public Square” explores how public squares and parks can be effective “lower-cost, high-impact strategies to foster prosperity,” the piece reads. “A central attraction of cities throughout the world, public squares not only bring economic rewards but offer people a comfortable spot to gather for social, cultural, and political activities. They are the pulsing heart of a community and foster true urban sustainability,” according to PPS.
PPS has helped envision a number of public squares across the country (the non-profit offers technical assistance to communities designing public spaces). The group helped the Detroit 300 Conservancy and the City of Detroit to envision Campus Martius, located in downtown Detroit. The article directs readers to an interesting Washington Post article, entitled “City parks, bringing urban centers back to life,” which uses Campus Martius as an example of a successful urban renewal project.
“The City [of Detroit] held a grand opening for the new Campus Martius in November of 2004. It was an immediate home run with the people of Detroit and surrounding communities. People are coming back downtown to hear concerts, watch outdoor movies, admire the ever-changing flower gardens, delight in the fountains, meet a date at the Park Cafe, or simply sit and relax,” PPS’s website reports. Beyond being a space that attracts people who are looking for a great outdoor place to hang out at, a well-planned public square attracts businesses and professionals who want to be near places where people gather. You can read a bit more about how Campus Martius has spurred economic growth, redevelopment, and job creation in Detroit in one of my earlier 21c3 blog posts.
Jennifer Eberbach is a professional journalist and writer. Find contact information on her website www.jenthewriter.info.