What Makes Great 'Place' and Streetscape? A Review of Coffee Talk 4.

(This originally was posted on the The Future of 35th website.)

Brice Maryman of SvR Design

What creates those great, vibrant ‘places’ where people congregate, socialize, and feel welcomed?  Turns out…a lot of things.

In the latest of our ongoing Coffee Talk series, we were led on an visual tour by Brice Maryman with SvR Design as he shared various design concepts and conditions that lead to great place making.  Creating that sense of place is an important step in establishing a well used commercial corridor that attracts shoppers and businesses while being desirable to walk through.

The conditions necessary for great places differ depending upon the community.  For those that came to the latest Coffee Talk, lots of characteristics were identified of great places and not-so-great places.  Here’s what we came up with:

  • Places to sit
  • People converge, interact, and create happenstance community
  • Place for commerce
  • There’s a reason to be there (a draw)
  • There are center and edge spaces
  • Approachable and inclusive to everyone
  • Evokes emotion and meaning
  • It communicates shared experiences and community
  • Sense of familiarity and stirs memories
  • Appropriate scale
  • A void space ties together destinations
  • Dynamic, interactive, and fun
  • Becomes symbolic or iconic
  • Becomes a focal point
What are the elements of not-so-good places?
  • Uncomprehensible
  • Undefined edges
  • Lacks focal point
  • Featureless
  • Barriers to entry
  • Not an appropriate scale
  • Monochromatic and boring
  • Exclusive
  • Sense of fake-ness
In addition to this visual tour of place making, Brice discussed recent projects his firm has completed that incorporate place making into streetscape design.  You can read Valarie’s perspective of the latest Coffee Talk here.
As always, we’ve got the Coffee Talk in true-to-form poor quality for all to watch and relive the magic of the night.  Note that the location of the upcoming Coffee Talks may be changing due to scheduling conflicts at Messiah Lutheran on Thursday nights.

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