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

DIY Traffic Calming

Posted on by PKageyama in Love Notes, Trends | Comments Off on DIY Traffic Calming

Here’s an example of taking matters into your own hands. DIY city making continues to expand as people become emboldened to make necessary changes in their own communities. Hopefully the official city makers take note that change can and will happen even without their support and permission. Cheers to those that break/bend the rules in order to get our communities to the place we actually want to be.

Story here: http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/03/heres-diy-approach-slowing-citys-cars/8661/

City Trends – 2013 Part One

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City Trends for 2013 – Part One: Positive Trends

A few weeks ago I was speaking at the New York Conference of Mayors.   As part of the gig I was asked to partake in a panel discussion at the end of the event and the topic was  urban trends we had been seeing over the past year.   It got me thinking about what I had been seeing over the past 12 months or so and to look forward to 2013.  Here is a synopsis of what I said:

Some Positive Trends

DIY Spirit – The urban do it yourself spirit shows no signs of abatting.  In fact it seems to be picking up steam as it expands beyond the expected urban laboratories of San Francisco, New York and Detroit into places like Raleigh, Dallas and Orlando.  Kickstarter and other online crowdsource funding platforms have fueled many of these projects as well as new models such as the Awesome Foundations that have made giving circles hip.  Cities have started to get into the crowd sourced funding as withnessed by the launch earlier this year of Neighbor.ly which is essentially Kickstarter for cities.

Backlash Against the CarStudies are showing the young people are falling out of love with the car. Buyers between the age of 18 to 34 make up just 11% of the auto market, down from 17% in 2007,  and even drivers licenses issued to 20-24 year olds is down from 92% in 1983 to 81% in 2010.   To this age group the car is more encumbrance than symbol of freedom.  As they flock back to urban centers where parking spaces are scarce and parking fees are high, the bike, the scooter and even the skateboard become highly appealing.

And look at the current crop of cars that are targeted towards young people – small, stylish, hybrid or entirely electric.  Parking spaces that were designed for big sedans or even bigger SUVs suddenly seem like lots of wasted space.  When these smaller cars become the norm, what interesting things might we do with some of that reclaimed parking space?

Small is the New Big – A few years ago, I kept hearing “Green is the new black” as people and places got religion about issues  around the environment and sustainability.  Every city started to ask if they should have more recycling and LEED certified public projects.  That is still a powerful and very important trend but the economic crisis of the past few years has slowed or curtailed many of those projects.  And in the wake of those fiscal challenges we are seeing a huge increase of smaller, faster and cheaper projects.   Crowdsourcing platforms (see above) have gotten small amounts of money into the hands of really creative people who can stretch a buck  to unknown lengths.  Part of this is the lack of formal organizational structures to many of these projects.

Without official status, offices or full time employees, these groups are smaller, highly social and often passion projects that fill strange gaps.  For example, in Edmonton, Alberta a group called Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton has a bicycle based juicing machine that travels to peoples’ backyards when they have more fruit than they can use.  And the juicing machine was the result of a crowd-sourced fundraising effort!

Coming next – the negative trends.

From Wichita With Love

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Here is a project that was born in the workshop we did in Wichita in April. They just recently launched it and the website. Well done Wichita!


Grande Prairie, Alberta – $500 Project Launches

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One of the $500 prize winners from my Grande Prairie, Alberta workshop made their project happen. Congratulations!


South Bend Declares Its Love

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In June I wrote a piece called “The Surprising Life in America’s Dying Cities” for Infrastructurist.com.  The piece highlighted the amazing things that were happening in the cities designated by Newsweek Magazine in January as the 10 most “dying” places.  Needless to say, the cities on that list were not happy with the tag placed on them.  Since I published that article, one more of those “dying” cities has stepped up to declare the rumors of their demise being greatly exaggerated.

South Bend, Indiana was number eight on the Newsweek list.  And local radio personality Tori James did not like it. But not having budgets to counter the publicity, she decided that South Bend needed to remind itself of the good things it had in the community.  She came up with the idea that the citizens should write “love notes” to the city.  She took the idea to Downtown South Bend Inc. and they decided to run with it.  Leveraging the radio station and the local paper they were able to get word of the project out to South Bend.  They put actual mailboxes in several downtown shops and invited people to drop off their notes in person.  Online submissions came from all over the country as hundreds of love notes came in.

Last week the city declared “I Love South Bend” day and the love notes were posted in the windows of shops throughout downtown.  Local artists were brought in to paint the windows and seam together the notes into displays of the love and affection people have for their city.

While things like the Grand Rapids Lip Dub might get more external attention, one cannot underestimate the impact of these simple, heartfelt efforts such as South Bend has done. This project was BY them and FOR them.  A declaration of love and connection that becomes part of a longer term effort to improve the relationship between city and citizen.  Every community would do well to reflect on that relationship and hopefully do so without a scare or an outside threat.

More Photos

For the Love of Akron

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On August 23, 2011 we conducted the “For the Love of Akron” workshop at the University of Akron. The event was sponsored by the Akron office of the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation and drew over 200 participants. The event also featured Knight Soul of the Community lead consultant Katherine Loflin, the team from The Civic Commons who provided the video booth and graphic recording by Michelle Royal of HDYI .

Lots of great ideas were generated & shared.  Lots of blimp references as well as mentions of Swenson’s hamburgers and Luigi’s pizza.  Check out the photo set here.

We even had an earthquake!

The Ripple Effect in Wayne, Michigan

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After I spoke at the Rust Belt to Artist Belt conference in Detroit, a group from Wayne, Michigan decided to start a blog called “For the Love of Wayne.”  The blog “lets local people share their personal stories about why they love Wayne.”

They write:  This blog is a project of the Wayne Ripple Effect, a group of volunteer citizens dedicated to revitalization for the City of Wayne and was inspired by the book “For the Love of Cities” by Peter Kageyama.

I love it when ideas turn into action and they allowed me to do a guest post for the blog.  Congratulations Wayne, Michigan and keep up  the love!

Coverage in St. Petersburg Times

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It is often hard to get coverage, let alone love from your local newspaper.  But that changed last week when the Business Editor for the Times, Bob Trigaux and I got together for an in depth interview and discussion about our cities.

St. Petersburg Times – 4/19/2011

Interview from Detroit – April 7, 2011

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While in Detroit to speak at the Rust Belt to Artist Belt conference, the Detroit Regional News Hub interviewed me.  The News Hub is a not for profit, grass roots news agency that is helping to bring the unheard stories about Detroit to the forefront.  I sat down with Jeremiah Staes and we discussed Detroit, talent and how 719 people could change the city!

Can Robocop Save Detroit? YES!

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It started on Feburary 7th when a guy from Massachusetts tweeted to Detroit mayor Dave Bing that Robocop would make a great statue for the city, kind of like the Rocky statue in Philadelphia.  Mayor Bing politely tweeted in response “There are not any plans to erect a statue of Robocop.  Thank you for the suggestion.”  Too late, a meme was born.

The idea spread like wildfire and soon a  Facebook group was created by Detroiter John Leonard.  The idea sparked Imagination Station founder Jerry Paffendorf to launch a KickStarter project to raise the money to actually build the state.  They set the goal of $50,000 by March 26th to fund the project.    A website was launched – detroitneedsrobocop.com and on February 16th the New York Times featured the story.  As of today (February 19th), just 12 days since that fateful tweet, over $59,000 has been raised on Kickstarter by  2187 people.  Several sites for the statue have been offered and the project has galvanized supporters of Detroit from all over the world.

I wrote about Jerry Paffendorf in For the Love of Cities regarding his Loveland Project.  Paffendorf had previously purchased 3000 square feet of land in the city and had begun to sell it off to people an inch at a time.   The “inchvestors” were symbolically buying into the idea of Detroit and taking a piece (a very small piece) of ownership of the city.  But his idea resonated with hundreds of inchvestors who bought their stake and “moved into” these virtual neighborhoods at the website.  The funds raised by Loveland are being used to support other community projects, including the Imagination Station,  a clean-up project that is turning two abandoned homes in the shadow of Detroit’s Central Station into public art space.

Some have suggested that this is a colossal waste of time and resources.  One article called it “irony run amok” and some a concerned that a Robocop statue will dilute and devalue the public art that is already in the city.  Paffendorf told the New York Times “Sometimes it takes a RoboCop to show a different way to do things.  My hope is that it sets an example and puts this kind of funding on the map, so when people see big problems, they can think, ‘If crazy people raised $50,000 for a RoboCop statue, we can certainly raise more to take on something bigger.’ ”

Is one statue going to save the Motor City?  No, of course not.  But what this project represents – grassroots, Internet fueled efforts by people who love the city – THAT can save the city.  Take this one small success, where they get people to invest a little bit of their money and time in the city.  They network with each other and realize they are not alone.  In fact there are many more of them out there than perhaps they ever thought (over 2100 supporters on Kickstarter and 7400 fans on Facebook).  This success gives them confidence to try again and perhaps do something bigger (or more serious) next time.  Repeat this ten times, a hundred times, a thousand times and that is real change.  So to those that think this is a silly distraction from the city’s real problems, I say it is exactly the type of silly distraction Detroit and many other cities need.