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

New York City Loves Bike Share

Posted on by PKageyama in Latest News, Lovable Cities, Trends | Comments Off on New York City Loves Bike Share

Much like the change of heart seen over pedestrian only Times Square, New Yorkers apparently love the one year old bike share program. Decried by some as ugly, dangerous and even totalitarian, the success of the program should embolden other communities to look at their own implementations.

Story here: http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/05/27/one-year-later-new-yorkers-love-totalitarian-bi/199467

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/

Does New York City Love You Back?

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Does NYC love you back? This new app and website tracks the loves and hates people have for the city. As was pointed out by one resident, being able to express your emotions for the city, good or bad, is important.

High Line Park – Part Two

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One of my favorite “love notes” is High Line Park. I describe it in the book from when I visited there in late 2009. This week heralds the opening of the second phase of the park just in time for summer. The park has created an enormous buzz around it, acting like an amplifier for property values and development. They say that this type of boom is usually only seen when a new subway or train station is opened.

Check out the coverage from the NY Times.

Public Spaces & Falling In Love With Your City

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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

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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