Sunday, April 13, 2014

"You tap into your humanity. I mean, would you want to go there?"

Franklin's discussion about what to do with Emmons St is not a unique discussion. Other communities have this discussion around development vs. green space or community space. Amanda Burden the former New York City urban planner spoke at the TED Conference in March. Right about the same time as the Town Council hosted the second discussion on Emmons St.
"When we think of cities, we think of buildings and skyscrapers and stray cats. For Amanda Burden, who spent 12 years as New York City’s director of urban planning, they’re primarily about people. They’re about where people go and where they meet – that’s the core of how cities work. And for the people, even more important than the buildings are the public spaces in between them. Those, to Burden, are what makes the cities come alive. 
The central question she asks is, “What makes a public space work? What is it about unsuccessful places that keeps people away?” Burden, it turns out, was trained as an animal behaviorist, but she uses those skills to study how people interact with their spaces."
From the TED blog

Spend about 18 minutes with Amanda and listen to what she has to say about city spaces and what they can do for people. What she says about New York translates well to what we can and should do here in Franklin.

Good quotes:
Now, open spaces in cities are opportunities. Yes, they are opportunities for commercial investment, but they are also opportunities for the common good of the city, and those two goals are often not aligned with one another, and therein lies the conflict.

So how was I going to get this done? By listening. So I began listening, in fact, thousands of hours of listening just to establish trust. You know, communities can tell whether or not you understand their neighborhoods. It's not something you can just fake. And so I began walking. I can't tell you how many blocks I walked, in sweltering summers, in freezing winters, year after year, just so I could get to understand the DNA of each neighborhood and know what each street felt like. I became an incredibly geeky zoning expert, finding ways that zoning could address communities' concerns.

So what's the trick? How do you turn a park into a place that people want to be? Well, it's up to you, not as a city planner but as a human being. You don't tap into your design expertise. You tap into your humanity. I mean, would you want to go there? Would you want to stay there? Can you see into it and out of it? Are there other people there? Does it seem green and friendly? Can you find your very own seat?

These and other quotes from directly from the transcript

So how does the discussion on Emmons St continue? Should the Town Council issue the "Expression of Interest"?

WHEREAS, the Town owns improved property at 150 Emmons Street which
previously housed the municipal administrative offices (hereinafter “Property”), and 
WHEREAS, the Franklin Town Council, by Resolution 04-75, previously declared
Property to be surplus and available for disposition, and 
WHEREAS, Town, pursuant to said resolution, issued a Request for Proposals
with a minimum bid price, but failed to receive any responsive proposals, and 
WHEREAS, the Town Council is cognizant of public interest in and concern for
reuse and/or redevelopment of Property as a “Gateway” to and integral part of the
Downtown, and has held public hearings to solicit public comments, and 
WHEREAS, Town Council remains desirous of disposing of Property and seeks
additional input as to potential reuse and/or redevelopment to provide it with guidance in
the preparation of a new Request for Proposals, 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Town of Franklin acting by and
through its Town Council: 
1. Directs the Town Administrator to cause a Request for Expressions of
Interest be prepared and issued for Property with responses due no
later than July 31, 2014. 
2. Directs the Economic Development Committee to review and evaluate
all responses and to provide the Town Council with a written report of
its evaluation at the Council’s first meeting this coming September.
 This resolution is on the agenda for the Town Council meeting Wednesday, Apr 16

Emmons St building
Emmons St building

No comments:

Post a Comment