Shaping Space for Civic Life

Sunday, May 7, 2017 | 4 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.
CM | 1.25
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You'll learn about:

  • Four key civic-engagement objectives: civic trust, participation in public life, stewardship of the public realm, and informed local voting
  • Specific examples of how community design elements impact civic life 
  • National project examples that are using planning and policy to influence civic engagement outcomes  
  • Opportunities and methods for planners and policymakers to elevate civic life in their communities and benchmark their successes 

Communities across the United States face concerning trends related to civic engagement, including low voter turnout and growing social and economic divides. Planners, designers, civic leaders, and community residents alike are interested in rebuilding trust, revitalizing neighborhoods, and supporting interaction among diverse groups. Promising innovations to bolster vibrant street life are emerging across the country, and many city agencies and public-private partnerships are actively working to transform underutilized infrastructure into dynamic public spaces.

In light of these trends, the Center for Active Design has launched “Assembly: Shaping Space for Civic Life,” a pioneering initiative to leverage place-based design as a tool to enhance civic engagement. This session will introduce you to this initiative and its evidence-based approach to shaping public spaces. Reflect on historic and emerging research that points to the connection between the built environment and civic participation, examine project examples from Philadelphia and Detroit, and learn how to enhance civic engagement levels in your own communities. 





Jennifer Mahar , Fairmount Parks Conservancy , Philadelphia , PA
Suzanne Nienaber , AICP , Center for Active Design c/o WeWork , New York , NY (see bio)
Mark Wallace , Detroit RiverFront Conservancy , Detroit , MI (see bio)