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CSS and Placemaking

“Practitioners need to know the individuals, groups, and agencies that need to be invited to participate in a collaborative decision making process. Identifying the right people to participate and work on scoping the problem together is an important difference between the traditional transportation problem solving process and a CSS approach. If we get the right people and practitioners talking, listening, and working together before the problem is even formally defined, everyone starts on the same page and it sets the foundation for collective and creative problem solving that is at the heart of CSS.”

– "Going the Distance Together: Context Sensitive Solutions for Better Transportation"


Placemaking capitalizes on local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential.By doing so, it creates good public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well being. Community input as part of the Placemaking process allows practitioners to understand a particular place, and the ways in which it can foster successful social networks and initiatives.

The Placemaking process allows streets to regain their status as public spaces in our communities. Currently, streets are no longer viewed as places, which is a huge loss given that streets can take up as much as one-third of a municipality’s land. Communities are also recognizing that conventional planning, which is top down, time consuming, difficult to engage in, and often leads to little or no change, is not meeting their needs.

By focusing on place, the Placemaking approach breaks down silos and makes conversation simple enough to allow everyone to contribute, as opposed to a discipline driven process that can be intimidating. Most of all, place-based planning and investment restores confidence and creates pride in community and neighborhoods.

Resources on CSS and Placemaking



Article Icon Article / Paper / Report Building Communities With Transportation
"Important change ... is happening in rural hamlets, middle burgs and huge metropolises. While some folds are just getting from feet into mechanical transport for the first time in civilizations' history, others are learning to return to their feet and to build with proper scale and proportion in land use. My lecture focuses on the early steps of returning towns and people to sensible, smart growth, sustainable, people-focused transportation and land use practices. I will reflect on what is going on in both urban and suburban places."
--  Dan Burden
Walkable Communities

Placemaking Principles for CSS
  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation uses eleven principles (adapted from Project for Public Spaces) that they apply to transportation projects.
Article Icon Article / Paper / Report How Transportation and Community Partnerships are Shaping America: Part I: Transit Stops and Stations
This booklet explores how people in communities concerned about livability are working in partnership with transportation agencies on locally-initiated projects and programs to create transportation systems that enhance places.
--  Project for Public Spaces
Excerpt IconExcerpt Creating Places in Action
"Traffic calming, in partnership with a variety of place making elements can help bolster the livability of many types of urban and town environments. The following examples of cities and towns that have made use of such improvements to successfully rejuvenate declining areas and restore their sense of community represent a variety of geographical and different size locales in the United States." more...
from  Getting Back to Place: Using Streets to Rebuild Communities p.40-47

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