Designing Resilient Downtowns
Placemaking is an important component of downtown revitalization. It is the art of transforming public space into quality environments. This is accomplished through an understanding of local culture and people’s aspirations, and utilizing the assets of the community to create public spaces that work for the users of such spaces. While community input is necessary to the creation of quality public space “so is an understanding of a particular place and of the ways that great places foster successful social networks and initiatives” (Project for Public Spaces 2009). Successful downtowns are places where care has been taken in the redevelopment of the public spaces, where attention has been paid to the details of design. Mary D. Hirsch, Downtown Development Manager for the City of Greenville, describes it this way:
We design our downtown first and foremost for people. Everything from the sidewalk design to the public plazas to the building edges to the outdoor cafés, the spaces must work for people instead of cars. While our Main Street is open to vehicular traffic, the streetscape design carefully balances people and cars.