Reimagining the Civic Commons

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Civic Commons Learning Journey: Dallas; photo credit: Can Turkyilmaz

Oak Cliff Inspiration

03.27.17

By Bridget Marquis Earlier this month the Civic Commons Learning Network held its first learning journey to Dallas. With Jason Roberts and Krista Nightengale of Better Block Foundation as our co-hosts, we explored the neighborhood of Oak Cliff, its changing narrative and the tactics and strategies being employed to foster neighborhood pride and encourage civic actions….

Fire pits at the Fourth Bluff Ice Rink

Economic mixing at the ice rink

03.23.17

By Dorchelle Spence Ice skating outdoors at the Fourth Bluff Ice Rink was a novel experience for most who visited Mississippi River Park this winter. Despite the different backgrounds of skaters and spectators, everyone typically shared three main attributes: enduring the sometimes frigid winter weather, inexperience on the ice, and a hometown pride spurred by views…

Storefront Stories; photo credit: Peter Larson, courtesy of IDEO

If you build it, will they come?

03.20.17

By Alexa Bush Our work in Detroit is situated within a community that lacks many of the quality public spaces where we envision economic mixing would occur: the park, the vibrant Main Street sidewalk, the coffee shop, the shady place to stroll. As we begin constructing some of these physical assets, we know this transformation…

Garfield Park Powerhouse; photo credit: CAIC

Making Moments

03.17.17

By Isis Ferguson On a sunny February day, members of the Chicago Arts and Industry Commons (CAIC) team and our programming colleagues from the University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life (APL) initiative visited Garfield Park Industrial Arts, one of three assets the CAIC conveners are in the early stages of reimagining. The sites are…

Akron's Civic Commons team at Studio #1; photo credit: Meredith Edlow

Civic Commons Studio #1: Opportunities for Akron

03.15.17

By Daniel M. Rice The first Reimagining the Civic Commons Studio in Philadelphia was an incredibly inspiring experience as we engaged in stimulating conversations, networked with national thought leaders and returned to Akron motivated and ready to take on the challenges and opportunities of our Akron Civic Commons. One of the highlights of the Civic…

Memphis team at Studio #1; photo credit: Meredith Edlow

Civic Commons Studio #1: Lessons for Memphis

03.09.17

By Ryan Jones There’s enough work in Reimagining the Civic Commons to keep each of the five cities occupied on a daily basis, with their heads down and constantly plowing ahead, deep in their respective agendas and ideas. Everyone is focused on keeping their momentum going while staying innovative and fresh. Twice a year however,…

Detroit's RCC team notes on next steps from Studio #1

Civic Commons Studio #1: Lessons for Detroit

03.06.17

By Ceara O’Leary A common refrain at the first Reimagining the Civic Commons (RCC) Learning Network convening was that civic commons means more than physical improvements to each city’s “assets.” Civic commons includes the assets but also extends to the programs that strengthen our neighborhoods, the collaborative process by which we develop programs and places,…

possibilities envisioned for Southwest Philadelphia’s Civic Commons
               

Reveal, Connect, and Engage: How Design Thinking Can Help Cities

03.02.17

By Gia Biagi Last year, our design firm Studio Gang – a collective of architects, planners, and thinkers – was commissioned by Reimagining the Civic Commons to create a book full of strategies and techniques aimed at making public spaces more relevant, useful, and potent. At ninety-six pages the book can feel like a lot…

A rendering of Detroit's civic commons project.

Can a New Town Square Bridge the Electoral Divide?

02.27.17

The original version of this post first appeared on The Hill. By Carol Coletta America has become a politically divided and fractured country. That’s especially clear now, after the Presidential election, but the divisions were apparent long before. In 2015, the Pew Research Center found that Americans were growing ever more ideologically polarized. In October…

Stony Island Arts Bank
photo credit: Rebuild Foundation

And then? Sustainability Through Arts + Culture

02.24.17

By Theaster Gates There was a building that used to matter. Soaring above its neighbors, the monumental granite and terra cotta structure represented so much more than the commercial activity within its walls. In its vibrant heyday, it was a radical symbol of self-determination for a people historically disenfranchised. The building was theirs, a space…

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