Placemaking: everything old is new again

By Rod Fehring, CEO

Placemaking: everything old is new again

By Rod Fehring, CEO

Placemaking: everything old is new again

By Rod Fehring, CEO

  • 01

    Insight

    Humans are social in nature, attracted to places that sustain a need for real-world connection and association.

  • 02

    Paradox

    Thanks to social media we have informal connections to many, but fewer meaningful real-world interactions that are the building blocks of community and a sense of belonging.

  • 03

    Principle

    Places that foster a multitude of ‘loose links’ between people are stronger, more productive communities in the long run.

When you’ve been in the development game as long as I have, you see a lot of change. Cities expand. Governments rise and fall. The economic drivers of society morph to absorb the promise of new technology.

It’s exciting because it keeps the conversation around how to design the successful towns and cities of the future fresh and engaging. That said, I am often struck by how much of what is considered modern and progressive in placemaking design are really ancient principles re-applied.

Take the discussion around ‘smart cities’ and ‘smart precincts’, for example. There’s no question that the digital age is rapidly transforming where we work, how we travel, and where we live. These days we need to think about designing for flexibility – so that homes can become offices, offices can become co-working spaces, and commuting can happen physically or virtually at the discretion of the individual.

But here’s the thing. Even as new technologies and new design modalities are re-making the landscape, it’s vital we don’t obscure the fact that all vibrant places with a strong sense of identity and self-perpetuation are fundamentally social in nature. Which is to say, they stimulate and support the human desire for connection, congregation and belonging.

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