Neighborhood Engagement by Anna S

Growing up, I have always been a part of a close-knit community. We have been friends with all of our neighbors since we first moved in. We had block parties every summer for all of the kids and all of the mom’s have Happy Hour each Friday. Until now, I have not realized how many placemakers we have in our little town of Wilmette. Everyone is always willing to engage themselves in making our neighborhood a better place and everyone is always willing to help each other out when need be. I have never heard about the concept of Placemaking until this class and it is very interesting to me. Having a safe and welcoming neighborhood or community just seemed like it happens pretty naturally, I haven’t ever thought that is it something that is built over time.

Reading the articles, What is Placemaking? and the 26 Ways to Make Great Places was very eye-opening. So much work goes into making people feel safe and comfortable in an area. “Improving public spaces and the lives of people who use them means finding the patience to take small steps, to truly listen to people, and to see what works best, eventually turning a group vision into the reality of a great public place”. Placemaking can only be successful if you have a group, or even a person, that is inspired and motivated to take matters into their own hands in order to improve the living situation of a community of people. There must be leadership and cooperation. That can be hard to find and the fact that people such as Jane Jacobs and William Whyte have devoted their lives to being those people is amazing to me.

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