Parks, Placemaking & Economic Development

I was at a dinner party a while back where I ran into someone in advertising who does most of her work in NYC and LA, and flies to either city with surprising frequency.  Nevertheless, her local studio is in Durham and her home is in Hillsborough.  She literally could live wherever she wants, yet chooses to live in Hillsborough and work in Durham because she likes the people and culture of these respective locales.  This highlights the importance of creating places worth living in.  

“No urban area will prosper unless it attracts those who can choose to live wherever they wish.”
- Jonathon Barnett

“Do for the future what you’re grateful the past did for you.”
- Danny Hillis, the Golden Rule of Time

“If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places.”
 - Fred Kent

“The 20th Century was about getting around. The 21st Century will be about staying in a place worth staying in.” 
- Jim Kunstler

For my dinner party companion, the above quotes are spot on. 

Sentiments echoing the need for place making are echoed in the Chatham County EDC’s Strategic Plan.  To quote: 

Quality of place is important because high-value entrepreneurs often chose to locate in scenic areas with amenities, such as arts, recreation, and rural character.” 

A later section titled “Quality of Life--Recreational Development Recommendations,” elaborates:

Research reveals that creative workers have a life cycle and move from urban areas to suburban areas as they age and have children. These workers value rural recreational amenities, such as bike paths, greenways, and trails in their residential and business-location decisions, which makes Chatham County an ideal location for these workers."

"Despite Jordan Lake serving as a tourism destination, Chatham County is not capitalizing on the potential small-scale, niche commercial development around Jordan Lake to target outdoor enthusiasts. The County and EDC should identify and zone special, small-scale commercial nodes near Jordan Lake and other recreational sites. Design and planning guidelines must be developed to protect the environment in these areas. It is recommended that the County aggressively pursue the upgrade and completion of the American Tobacco Trail and further explore connectivity of greenways, trails, and bike paths to downtowns and residential areas.”  

Parks and recreation are a vital part of placemaking, playing an important role in sustained economic development.  But more important is creating and enhancing a great place for yourself and your family.  

One last quote from poet and philosopher John Ruskin:

"The measure of any great civilization is in its cities, and the measure of a city's greatness is to be found in the quality of its public spaces, its parks and squares"

Dutch Bike Lanes


Popular Posts