Data-Driven Makeovers - A Street Plans & State of Place Love Affair!

Who doesn’t love a good before after makeover. And if you’re an urbanist, while you may secretly binge Queer Eye’s Fab Five, your love for street transformations is completely out in the open (although I’m equally vociferous about my love of both, haha!)! So what better time than the beginning of Summer to indulge yourself? Working with Street Plans, we chose an awesome mobility meets public art street re-do and Quantified it! Check out how this simple $150K project increased the State of Place of this once-drab block by nearly 30 points and achieved an over 20X ROI and why tactical urbanism meets data-driven citymaking is the key to achieving a truly fab street makeover!

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Mariela AlfonzoComment
A Moveable Feast Indeed...One Year Later

Revisiting our tribute to Anthony Bourdain, the consummate Seeker and place-oholic, one year later: “Bourdain had a magical, hypnotizing ability to not just transcendently capture [the "intersection" between food, place, and people] but to exploit it to show us something deeper in ourselves, to inspire empathy for "the other," to connect us to communities far afield and familiar alike, to deliver unto us a sense of place(s), to embolden us to seek out and relish the unknown, to find joy in the simplicity of food - and the human experience.

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Mariela AlfonzoComment
Uphill Both Ways...

Like many of you, I’ve been paying keen attention to any and all policies that touch upon sustainability, economics, and quality of life - yup, the Green New Deal in particular, which strikes all three cords. And while I meant to give you my take on the - oh no, it’s missing the tie between land use and transportation outcry - I thought my personal story about how these two factors - in addition to urban design, ahem, that’s missing too guys!! - would bring this home in a different way…perhaps in a more emotional - and hopefully politically expedient way - than simply adding my purely professional take to this already well-laid out critique.

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Data-Driven CityMaking: Evidence-Based Design for People Places

After a little 6-week hiatus, which we promise will end (with a roar) next week, we wanted to make sure we weren’t totally ghosting you and make sure you got your dose of all things placelover and datageek, so please spend the 20 minutes you would have spent with us over the past 6 weeks of blog posts with this seminal Ted-style talk on citymakers must incorporate a more data-driven approach to creating places ALL people love, that can make us happier, healthier, save our planet - and actually maximize the bang (ahem, return on investment) for the buck while at it. PLEASE enjoy! :)

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Mariela Alfonzo
To Place-Do or Place-Tell?

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?

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Mariela AlfonzoComment
Why "We" Need Place

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!

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Mariela Alfonzo
Why "KISSing" Is a Matter of Life and Death

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. 

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Mariela AlfonzoComment
Spicing Up Place

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!

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Mariela AlfonzoComment
Putting "Smart" Mobility in its PLACE...

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!

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Mariela Alfonzo Comment
The breakup heard 'round the world

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…

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Mariela AlfonzoComment
On Loving (and Hating) Places...

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!

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Mariela AlfonzoComment