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Streets as Places: A Training Seminar

5:08 PM EDT on October 14, 2007

"If we can develop and design streets so that they are wonderful, fulfilling places to be - community-building places, attractive for all people - then we will have successfully designed about one-third of the city directly and will have had an immense impact on the rest." -Allan Jacobs

"If you want cars to drive like they are in a village, then build a village." -- Hans Monderman


For the past 70 years, American cities have been designed to continuously accommodate ever increasing volumes of traffic. In our work in over 2000 communities around the country, we have found that when cities are designed around cars and traffic, they get more cars and traffic - whereas if we begin to plan cities for people and places, we will get more people and places. Starting in the 1970s, when PPS President Fred Kent began working with William H. Whyte's "Street Life Project," PPS has continued to be involved in research, training, and project work related to transportation issues. We have trained transportation professionals across the states of New Jersey, New Hampshire and New York in Context Sensitive Design; we designed and manage the FHWA Contest Sensitive Solutions (CSS) Website, and are in the process of developing a major campaign geared towards achieving fundamental transportation reform in the United States.

It is clear from all of our work that the public spaces of cities, towns and villages -the streets and roads, parks and plazas, waterfronts and commercial districts -are the source of this country's greatest potential to create livable, walkable, healthy and sustainable communities as well as its greatest challenge.

A Placemaking-Based Transportation Training Seminar

With this idea in mind, PPS will be offering "Streets as Places," a two-day transportation/placemaking training course on November 29-30, 2007. The goal of the course is to introduce participants to new ways of thinking about streets as public spaces and how placemaking can be used to build great streets and great communities. It is intended for anyone who is interested in creating a great street, including transportation professionals who want to learn more about how streets can help to build communities, civic and elected officials who realize that greater economic impact can result from changing the way that roads are designed, and citizen activists who understand that the time to change is now.

Presentations and discussion will center on how streets, roads, and transit facilities can be designed and managed to benefit communities, in addition to serving mobility needs. Practical tools for assessing a variety of street typologies and case studies of cities which have moved beyond solving mobility problems to community building will be presented, and participants will be encouraged to discuss their own projects as well as share experiences and ideas with each other.

The training session will include a walking tour and discussion of some of the recent street improvement projects in New York City, an on-site Placemaking street audit, seminar-style lectures, and open discussions about current transportation issues and challenges facing cities today.

sap3.jpgWho Should Attend?

Everyone! Transportation professionals, elected officials, developers and concerned citizens alike.

Why Now?

More and more people are realizing the important impact that both transportation and placemaking can have on communities - the time for change to occur is now!

Specific Topics to Be Discussed

    • Context Sensitive Solutions - designing streets and roads for community outcomes and benefits
    • Walkability - designing streets to link destinations
    • Transit (Thinking Beyond the Station) - how to create transit stops and stations that function as places in communities
    • Land Use - how smart land use decisions can leverage transportation investments most effectively
    • Placemaking on Streets - a series of tools and techniques for designing streets as places
    • Community Engagement - how to do it effectively and without pain How to engage transportation agencies to get the outcomes you want for your community
    • Street Management - how to manage through BIDs/Partnerships/Alliances
    • Long Range Transportation Planning and Project Development- engaging stakeholders in making important decisions about long-term transportation investments
    • Developing a Citywide or Statewide Transportation Campaign


The course will be facilitated by: Gary Toth, PPS Director of Transportation Initiatives and former Director of Project Planning and Development for the New Jersey Department of Transportation; David Burwell, PPS Senior Associate and former Executive Director of Rails to Trails Conservancy and STPP, along with PPS senior staff Fred Kent, President; Cynthia Nikitin, Vice President; and Renee Espiau, Transportation Planner and Senior Associate.

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