15 to Watch in 2015

I got a great shout out from the Tampa Bay Times as someone making things happen in the Tampa Bay region for 2015.  For the full list click Read more

Do You Love Your City?

What makes cities lovable? Why do we connect emotionally with some places and not others? And why does that matter? Author and consultant Peter Kageyama loves cities.  Big cities, small cities, villages and small towns.  He thinks he has Read more

Rust Belt to Artist Belt III

Posted on by admin in Engagements | Leave a comment

Peter Kageyama, author of For the Love of Cities,  will be a keynote at Rust Belt to Artist Belt III in Detroit, Michigan on April 6th, 2011. The conference, now in its third year, centers on cultivating talent and innovation to transform post-industrial cities. It explores the ways these cities are being shaped and reinvented by the diverse skill sets of artists, designers and other creative entrepreneurs.

A Love Letter to Syracuse

Posted on by admin in Lovable Cities, Love Notes | Leave a comment

In For the Love of Cities, I write about the Philadelphia Love Letter project by artist Steve Powers and the Philly Mural Arts program.  With the success of that project, other cities have been asking Powers to work with them.  Here is his latest work in Syracuse.  Note in the video how he uses a community engagement process to really understand what people love about their city.  And the result is wonderful!

Public Spaces & Falling In Love With Your City

Posted on by admin in Lovable Cities | Leave a comment

I heard an interview on NPR the other day with author Ariel Sabar who wrote a book about couples who had met and fill in love in New York’s iconic public spaces.  The book, Heart of the City: Nine Stories of Love and Serendipity on the Streets of New York, explores the critical and often overlooked role that our built environment plays in our emotional lives.

Sabar notes that some places are better designed for interacting, for people watching and for making eye contact with others.

“So the things that matter are, if a place is beautiful, if it gets your pulse racing and your adrenaline flowing, if there’s something interesting to look at, whether it’s a juggler or a street musician, then it’s the kind of place where strangers are more likely to sort of think favorably of one another and to strike up a conversation. And so, you know, there’s something to be said for going to a museum where you’re surrounded by beautiful objects because the people inside will also seem more beautiful” said Sabar to NPR’s Michel Martin.

In For the Love of Cities I note that we are “social creatures… endlessly fascinated by watching each other. Increase  the  people  watching  potential  of  the  city,  and   you  increase  fun  and  overall  satisfaction.”  Because we want/need to see each other, public places that are designed to facilitate that connection innately make us happy.  We respond to them, we are drawn to them.  Indeed it is these places that we say we love about our cities and value disproportionately in the sum total of place.

Sabar concluded that “we do need to care about our urban parks and squares and gathering places. Because this is where, you know, people engage. This is where community is built. This is where democracy happens, democracy with a lower case d.”  He pointed out that in Egypt, the central focus of that human revolution was a grand public square.  An extreme example but it underscores the importance of these places in community engagement.

When polled or asked as part of a focus group, people will tell you the standard litany of what they want from their city – safety, a decent education system, transportation and lower taxes. Psychologists have noted that we are really bad judges of what we think makes us happy.  We say we want safety, education and transportation and on some level we do (and we need them).  But what I believe we really want, at our core, is connections to other people and meaningful engagement.  And that comes from “silly” things like public parks, squares, public art, playgrounds and dog parks.   No one falls in love with a place because someone fixed the potholes.

Love Note: Pedestrian Friendly Times Square

Posted on by admin in Love Notes | Leave a comment

Two of my favorite New York City love notes debuted in 2009: the newly pedestrian friendly Times Square and High Line Park in the Meatpacking District.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan began pedestrian-friendly Times Square as an experiment in 2009. The response to their people space, created in the heart of the city, has been overwhelmingly positive. Complete with seating and free wifi, the area invites you to sit, people watch and amble in a way that the old Times Square did not. Sidewalks crowded with tourists and busy locals, surrounded by cars, did not make for a lovable place.

The experiment was made permanent in February 2010. Noted New York Magazine: “It took a bureaucrat’s intervention to make the place human again, to clear a little room for leisurely amazement in the lunatic center of this crazed metropolis.”

Street Films – In Appreciation of the NEW Times Square
This video features Danish architect Jan Gehl, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Peter Kageyama from Pedestrian Friendly Times Square

The “Curious Class”

Posted on by admin in Lovable Cities | Comments Off on The “Curious Class”

You don’t just fall in love with your city, it is a process. And at its most basic level it starts with curiosity and the possibility of discovery. I was in Las Vegas a few weeks ago when the new Cosmopolitan Hotel was opening and it was designed around the idea of curiosity and discovery. Check out the “curious class” here!


Five story chandelier in the Cosmopolitan Hotel

LCD screens in the hotel lobby