Studio One Eleven Hosts “A Morning With Fred Kent”
April 2, 2012 § 1 Comment
On March 22nd, our office had the opportunity to host a talk with Fred Kent, President of Project for Public Spaces (PPS). Organized by our friend Charlie Gandy of Livable Communities, Fred spoke to a group of community activists and leaders about his experiences in place making and creating sustainable communities.
Many of his concepts resonate with our approach to design:
“The best places fix and redefine themselves around authentic local values and assets”
“Incremental steps (what PPS calls ‘smaller, faster, cheaper’), not grand plans, are the way to sustained success”
“When you design a place around cars, you get more cars. When you design a place around people, you get more people”
After showing slides of various place making efforts and improvements ranging from New York City to Melbourne, Australia, Fred led a short walking tour of downtown Long Beach. A lot of what he saw he did not like, and we appreciated his honesty. His comments included that there was too much “design” in the form of fixed-elements and landscaping getting in the way of commerce and flexibility, as well as too many empty parking lots and blank garage walls with no ability to foster sidewalk activity and engagement.
Ultimately, Fred’s visit was a pep talk; it reinforced our belief that cities are places of continual evolvement and opportunity that need zealous advocates and enlightened leaders to push the agenda of people-serving and community enhancing places.