Notre. Dame. On. Fire. How mourning the loss of place gives me hope for valuing place…
Last week, I had the honor giving a keynote on Data-Driven Citymaking at Nordic Place Branding Conference in Stockholm, Sweden. I have to say, this was the first conference on place branding I have ever attended. And it got me thinking, what comes first, the place doing or the place telling? Normally, the answer to this would-be riddle would be a no-brainer. Well, there’s nothing to brand if there’s not a place first, right? But after listening to the stories of several places that had previously not been on the map, successfully use place branding to create people-first places, I started to wonder…could you create a place, or at least put the forces in motion needed to do so, simply by telling its (authentic) story?
Last November, while keynoting at the Proptech Norway conference, I met Ronen Journo from WeWork, a fellow keynoter (which was super cool, by the way!) who spoke about how the company was using data to inform their decisions “inside the building." As a data-driven citymaking champion, I was stoked. Well, yesterday, they announced they’d be tinkering with data and urban design - in some yet undisclosed way. So we’d thought we’d give We some concrete ideas for how to use data to create (and locate in) awesome places people love!
How many times do we have to be disappointed by citymaking's next "panacea" before we realize there will NEVER be a silver bullet answer to solving the beautiful, chaotic mess that is a city organism? This might seem odd for a "tech" company to say, but tech alone will NOT save cities - in fact, no one thing alone will save cities! Today, nearly a year after the devastating FIU pedestrian bridge collapse and the fatal Uber autonomous car crash, we revisit the need to "KISS" our way to better places and use tech as a means and not an end.
Hi all, Michelle, here - State of Place, COO. As some of you may know, last Fall, Mariela spiced up the Nordics - not once but twice, at the Oslo Urban Arena and Proptech Norway - sharing her unapologetically impassioned plea for more data-driven placemaking. Now that Scandinavia is thawing out just enough for her Miami-Cuban blood enough not to be totally frozen, she’s up for a double reprise this April! First, she’ll be one of the keynotes at the Nordic Place Branding conference in Stockholm on April 3rd and then she’ll be keynoting the Northwest conference in Alesund, Norway (where she’ll have the unenviable task of following Richard Florida, last year’s keynote!). So we’d thought we’d get your juices flowing by giving you a taste of Mariela’s Ted-style talk! We urge you to watch it in all its spicy glory!
Two weeks ago, our CTO, Andy Likuski and I attended the MOVE Smart Mobility conference in London and got a chance to exhibit State of Place. Not only were we struck by the lack of pedestrian “mobility” of the conference location, we were also disheartened to see that we were only one of a handful (seriously like sixe) of the 207 companies represented focused on the citymaking part of the mobility equation. So I did a quick and dirty breakdown of (lack of ) urban design around the conference space and analyzed the exhibitors to understand the makeup of today’s Smart Mobility space. Bottom line, we need better and more urban design in and around Smart Mobility!
It’s been one week since Amazon very publicly broke up - jilted even - with New York City. Now that initial sting is (maybe) worn off (a little), we’re here to give cities some gentle, empowering advice. Chin up cities! Resist the temptation to play the toxic dating game that is economic development meets corporate siting. Refuse these narcissistic would-be lovers. There’s a BETTER, simpler way that serves EVERYONE. Making places better…
Happy Valentine’s Day! While most people are celebrating today by dishing out copious amounts of money on indulgent dinners and fanciful flowers, us city nerds and datageeks have a different kind of love on our minds today - PLACE love! This week, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re revisiting the phenomenon of the “anthropomorphic” love (or hate) we all experience with “place.” We explore my “feelings” toward three cities I’ve loved (and hated) before - Shanghai, New York, and Miami to help us understand what about place creates such strong emotions in us - and what we can do as citymakers to encourage more love for place!
Last week, we took our best stab at distilling the vastly important Smart Growth America, Dangerous by Design report into what we believe are the main takeaways, both in terms of the key evidence-based findings and the critical design and policy guidance that came out of the report. We also aimed to translate these directives into specific, actionable urban design recommendations that citymakers must - and can - start implementing STAT. But there was so much to dig into with respect to SGA’s findings that - lest we threatened your weekly productivity - we decided to save the “how to” section for this week (tell your boss, you’re welcome!). Together, we can go from Dangerous by Design to Safe by Design! Let’s do this thing. And, if you happen to be attending MOVE in London next week, please hit me and Andy (our CTO) up! We’ll be exhibiting in the Startup Village in booth P62 on Feb 12th and 13th! Hope to discuss how data, predictive analytics, and design can save lives - and make people happier and more prosperous!
Last week, Smart Growth America published their semi-annual Dangerous by Design report, highlighting the most perilous places to be a pedestrian in the US and calling for a variety of policy measures to help put an end to the 13 people whose lives are stolen every day because of fatal street design. Clearly, given our ongoing blog series, Design for our Lives, and our data-driven efforts to put teeth behind Vision Zero (and the like) programs over the course of the past 9 months, the report caught our attention. Accordingly, we culled through the report and pulled out not only the key stats all citymakers must have at their fingerprints about road safety - whether they are involved in a Vision Zero program or not - but also the critical design and policy measures that must be implemented immediately - literally as a matter of life and death - to go from dangerous by design to safe by design. And next week, we’ll distill these design and policy guidelines into specific, actionable urban design changes that all citymakers need to start implementing STAT (we were gonna do it this week, but we didn’t want to cut too much more into your important citymaking schedules! ;)). So without further ado, we present the top three findings of the Dangerous by Design report and the seven top design and policy recommendations that must be heeded to get Safer by Design.
A couple of weeks ago, we ran across an article published in CNU’s Public Square entitled “Walkability indexes are flawed. Let's find a better method.” Naturally, as an urban data and predictive analytics software company - who produces a quality of place index that measures walkability among other “abilities”, ahem, the State of Place Index - this got our attention. While Mr. Steuteville, the author of the piece, makes some astute - and accurate - claims about indeces like Walk Score and the EPA’s National Walkability Index (NWI), we took a deeper dive into his arguments, lest we not throw out the baby with the bathwater. So, we humbly present to you a few ways in which the State of Place Index does indeed address many of the stated “flaws” outlined in the article and then underscore why Mr. Steuteville’s proposed solution alone - to focus on measuring walking - has key downsides that citymakers must consider. So let’s dig in before my datageeky heart bursts with joy (we love getting the opportunity to get geeky with it with pieces like these - so thanks Mr. Steuteville!).
A few weeks ago, we presented the hard numbers that show that a one point increase (out of 100) in the State of Place Index (i.e. better urban design) reduces the likelihood of a collision by 12.3% on average. This week, please meet Guess Street in Durham, NC --a dangerous hotspot not unlike many in your community -- we'll walk you through the specific changes citymakers need to make to save lives!