Featured on mml.org
What Is Place?
By Heather Van Poucker
Place is a cultural exploration. Place can be a small thing with a big impact. Place is more than just a location. It is people, involvement, and community. Place matters. If we had said those two words a few years ago, most would’ve had no idea what we were talking about. Today, the terms “place” and “placemaking” are part of the everyday vernacular.
Research shows that placemaking matters more than ever. At the League, our purpose is to help local officials identify, develop, and implement strategies that will grow and strengthen Michigan’s communities in the coming decades. We have broken all of it down into the following placemaking assets:
Physical Design & Walkability
Cultural Economic Development (CED)
Messaging & Technology
League Trustees response to “What is your favorite place, and why?”
My favorite place is our downtown, especially the Mill Pond. Generations of families play at the Imagination Station, get ice cream, and enjoy being together. My other favorite place is our property up north—we go to Charlevoix to picnic and play at Lake Michigan. (Our youngest grandson from Oklahoma calls it the “ocean”...but we don’t correct him.)
Lakes have always been my favorite places. I grew up near Lake Michigan and now live near Lake Huron. There is nothing better than watching the sunset or the sunrise over the lake. Summer picnics with campfires, volleyball, boating, swimming—people are happier near water.
My favorite place is Sunday Lake. It has a day-use facility with a park, tennis courts, little league field, and campground nearby. Additionally, a lighted walking trail surrounds the lake, providing a beautiful experience for residents and visitors. In spring 2013, construction will begin on a new community building providing a panoramic view of the lake and hills, making Sunday Lake and everything that surrounds it truly someplace special.
One spot has a special place in my heart—the Armory Arts Village. Originally a state penitentiary, it was renovated into an artist colony. Jackson won the League’s Community Excellence Award Cup in 2008 for this project. My wife and I had our wedding reception there. Art displays served as decorations, and tours were conducted for our guests.
A vision to behold…water flowing from Lake Huron under the Blue Water Bridge into the St. Clair River by Thomas Edison Park. Whether you walk along the riverfront, drive on the parkway, bike, rollerskate, or gaze at the many freighters, sailboats, and cruisers, you will never find a more beautiful and serene view. This is one of my favorite places. It keeps my husband and I in Port Huron. It is also where my husband proposed to me.