Yesterday, a friend and former co-worker who works in regional development and tourism sent me a message saying that she was looking for some interesting and inspiring videos about city activation, place making and collaborative processes in urban development. Her city has a spectacular setting on Australia's Great Barrier Reef and a magically perfect tropical climate which make it a major destination for tourists and a fabulous place which locals never want to leave. Increasingly, people are identifying the many opportunities to reinvigorate spaces within the central business district to complement the natural setting with other city experiences.
It is incredibly exciting that the city is exploring opportunities to enhance the urban landscape, and in the process are looking around the world for ideas to generate some passion in their leaders. I have selected a few videos which I hope offer both interesting and motivating ideas for aspiring to create great spaces and inclusive and engaging processes in cities. If you have a little spare time each of these is worth a look. I would love to hear of any other great suggestions you have to share - just enter any in the comments below. I hope to add some more suggestions when I have a little more time.
Spare 15 - 20 minutes
How Public Spaces Make Cities Work
In this inspiring talk, Amanda Burden discusses the importance of public spaces in creating an enjoyable city life. She shares her experience of developing the High Line in New York as a great example of public space anchoring an area undergoing transformation, and she provides insight into some great ideas for strategic and integrated urban development which ensure people are connected with the places they live.
Before I Die I Want To
Candy Chang has sprinkled countless cities around the world with little experiments, often on the sides of abandoned buildings, to engage people in their neighborhoods about life, memories and dreams. She shows the power of public spaces when people have a voice and share experiences with each other.
The Walkable City
Jeff Speck explains how Portland, Oregon made a series of choices which shifted the city's priorities to make it more sustainable, walkable and bikeable - and in the process boosted economic development outcomes. This is a great example of a leaders setting an agenda to improve the city for all.
Brilliant Designs to Fit More People in Every City
The vision for the future city, according to Kent Larson is a place for people, capitalizing on compact urban centers and shared use of spaces and vehicles. Technological innovation will play a role in creating micro cars, robotic walls for apartments to adapt spaces, apps to enable communities to 'personalise' the type of housing they demand and sensors to save energy consumption. A little out there, but inspiring for thinking beyond the status quo!
Ellen Dunham-Jones offers opportunities for how cities can regenerate car-based suburban development as people-oriented spaces.
My Architectural Philosophy? Bring the Community into the Process
This insightful talk by Alejandro Aravena discusses the importance of engaging with the community to find the right questions to ask and the right problems to solve in a complex example from Chile.
Spare 60 minutes
The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces
William H. Whyte discusses his observations of people's needs for public spaces in cities and what makes a utilized and vibrant space. A fantastic film to watch for anyone responsible for overseeing a public space or city activation design project.