A Few of My Favorite (Placemaking) Things

As I travel around to different cities and places, my camera is always ready to capture that “aha” moment.  You probably have things in your own back yard, but don’t see them because you walk by them every day.  But slow down your pace sometime, become more mindful and ask yourself what are the things that put a smile on your face or think about why you choose to walk on a certain side of the street.   You might be amazed what you discover.  It could be as simple as flower plantings, a pocket park, or a sign that makes you feel welcomed.  It is these things that cultivate the emotional attachment that we feel for a place or our hometown.

ann-arbor-kerry-town Ann Arbor, Michigan The KerryTown area is one of my favorite spots in Ann Arbor, and its courtyard, in my humble opinion, is one of the best gathering places in the city.  Adding to its cozy feel and vibrancy, is a new vegan restaurant called The Lunch Room (which just made the leap from one of Mark’s Carts to brick and mortar), which has placed a few tables outside, along with some very nice “hanging” plants that actually look like they are framed.  Again, it’s a simple idea, but a powerful statement that adds to the overall “place” of the courtyard.
minneapolis-alley Minneapolis, Minnesota – This restaurant managed to eke out an intimate little space between two buildings which only measures about 10 feet, creating a cozy outdoor restaurant experience.
zurich-umbrellas Zurich, Switzerland   As you approach this venue (Gerolds Garten), you might feel a bit like Mary Poppins with the “floating” umbrellas overhead as they seemingly guide you along with child-like glee.
marquette-dog-hitching-post Marquette, Michigan – I love seeing dog bowls outside of stores and restaurants – and I don’t even have a dog!  However, Marquette went a step further to provide a dog hitching post outside the restaurant L’Attitude Cafe and Bistro.  To me, this speaks volumes about a community’s welcoming and open spirit.
Valet parking in Vancouver Vancouver, BC – Talk about a bike friendly city!  This sign says it all.
bryant-park-sign New York City – Signage can say a lot about a community.  Here’s a sign at Bryant Park which lets you know the rules without trying to take away the experience.
piano-paul-revere-park Boston, Massachusetts –  Nothing like an invitation to sit down and play the piano in Paul Revere park!  (Although I play the piano, I was not tempted to play!)