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Peaceful Places: Boston

November 17 at noon / Build Boston, World Trade Center
rescheduled for March 26 at noon, Boston Society of Architects

Seminar and book signing with Lynn K. Schweikart, author of Peaceful Places Boston

In this special BuildBoston meeting of the Placemaking Network, author Lynn K. Schweikart talks about her new book, Peaceful Places Boston: 120 Tranquil Sites in the City and Beyond, newly published by Menasha Ridge Press. The fifth in a new series, with each book set in a U.S. metropolis, the Boston edition leads the reader on an unexpected path to secret delights and is a guidebook for everyone who yearns for special and contemplative places amidst the urban hubbub. Lynn has researched over 120 tranquil oases in and around Boston and entices with enchanting walks, historic sites, museums and galleries, outdoor habitats, parks and gardens, quiet tables, spiritual enclaves, inspiring vistas, and urban surprises. In addition to showing some of those places she has identified, Lynn offers her thoughts about the nature of peaceful places and the characteristics that make places contemplative, tranquil, and special. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing after the seminar.

The Preservation of Place: A Case Study of Collinsville, Connecticut

October 24, 2011

Speaker, Part 2: Mary Engvall, ME Marketing Communications

Collinsville, Connecticut is a distinctive and historic town. Its successful preservation is largely due to the energies of its residents and the maintenance of its economic vitality in the face of modern pressures. Grass roots organizations, community activities, and an attitude towards Smart Growth have all been recently at play in Collinsville. This case study examines which elements are essential to the making of such a distinctive place; and what physical and community features must be preserved, enhanced, or allowed to change in order to maintain its social and economic viability. Mary Engvall founded the Canton Advocates for Responsible Expansion (C.A.R.E. Inc.) and runs the weekly Collinsville Farmers Market. C.A.R.E.’s smart growth approach supports the preservation of Collinsville by encouraging sensitive development and maintenance of its economic viability. Review the benefits of activity-based community-building and placemaking initiatives like the Market, and determine lessons learned from the staging, operation, and management of the Market by a team of volunteers.

The Preservation of Place: A Case Study of Collinsville, Connecticut

September 26, 2011

Speaker Part 1 - David K. Leff, author of The Last Undiscovered Place

Two-part symposium, presented as the Placemaking Network’s September and October seminars.

Collinsville, Connecticut is a distinctive and historic town. Founded, planned, and largely built by The Collins Company, for a time the country’s leading manufacturer of axes and other “edge tools,” Collinsville served as the home for the company, its managers, and employees since they began manufacturing axes there in 1826. It has had its brushes with fame; the father of American landscape architecture Frederick Law Olmsted served his surveying and civil engineering apprenticeship there as a teenager, and the abolitionist John Brown bought a supply of pikes there that were later used in his last stand at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Despite the closing of the Collins factories in 1966 and real estate development and highway rerouting pressures, Collinsville has managed to maintain its quintessential New England village personality. While much has changed in Collinsville, physical elements like the factory buildings by river’s waterfalls that gave the town life and the human rhythms of its volunteer fire department, town meeting government, and quaint Memorial Day celebrations remain largely intact.

Collinsville is a case study in the examination of what elements are essential to the making of such a distinctive place; and what physical and community features must be preserved, be enhanced, or be allowed to change in order to maintain its social and economic viability.

Please see the attachements below for notes from David K. Leff's presentation.

Sensory Environments & Making Places Memorable

June 27, 2011

Speakers: John Copley and Lynn Wolff, Principals, Copley Wolff Design Group

Municipalities, institutions and developers often ask, “What are the tangibles, as well as the intangibles that enliven spaces, bring people together, and make certain places stick out in our minds as being special”? John Copley and Lynn Wolff, landscape architects and principals at Copley Wolff Design Group joined the Placemaking Network to explore ways that landscape architecture contributes to these important social placemaking goals and what types of projects benefit most from using interpretive, artistic, historical, cultural and cognitive elements to stimulate the senses. Using case studies, John and Lynn highlighted best practices and showcased examples of how sensory environments were used in some local applications.

Regional Planning and Placemaking

May 23, 2011

Speaker: Timothy Reardon, Senior Regional Planner, Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)

Mr. Reardon examined how strategies for creating distinct and sustainable places at the scale of the building, site, or neighborhood are influenced by their regional context and systems.  The MAPC’s recently developed database of 1,700 completed or planned development projects in Metro Boston is a foundation for examining these relationships. Certain impacts of a given development, for example site-level approaches to stormwater management, pedestrian connectivity, or green building may be eclipsed by their regional location, producing significant off-site impacts that result from development in auto-dependent locations or highly stressed watersheds.

Ecological Waterscapes as Placemaking Elements

April 25, 2011

Speaker: Herbert Dreiseitl, Atelier Dreiseitl, LOEB Fellow and Harvard Graduate School of Design Faculty Member

Herbert Dreiseitl, an internationally renowned artist, landscape architect and expert on water management, joined the Placemaking Network to introduce the key elements of “Ecological Waterscapes,” a new approach for improved access to water in urban environments. Dreiseitl presented case studies from his projects and current research work at the Harvard GSD. He also addressed successfully implementing Ecological Waterscapes when faced with the challenges of different cultures, climate zones, economics, interdisciplinary cooperation, the dialogue among different stakeholders and policymaking.

Using Light to Create Great Places

March 28

Speakers: Paul Zaferiou and Keith Yancey, Principals, Lam Partners

Architecture has the power to elevate and excite the human spirit.  No matter what the type of space, light plays a critical role in how we perceive our environment. Visual comfort, visual interest, an inviting glow, a touch of drama created by contrast, and the subtle shift from day to night, all define our experiences of great spaces.  Paul Zaferiou discussed and demonstrated how light can be used to create, shape, and enhance a sense of place to create memorable experiences.

Landscape Urbanism and Urban Placemaking

February 16, 2011

Speaker: Charles Waldheim, Landscape Department Chair, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Across a range of disciplines, landscape has emerged over the past two decades as model and medium for the contemporary city.  The emergent discourse of ‘landscape urbanism’ has described these conditions, and has been found relevant internationally for a range of sites and subjects associated with ongoing urbanization. This talk introduced the origins and historic formation of landscape urbanism and illustrated the theory with contemporary projects of city building from North America and Asia that espouse a landscape urbanist position. The talk began with a brief overview of the discourse around ‘placemaking’ and various postmodern urbanist positions including the ‘new urbanism’ and concluded with a claim for a mature landscape urbanist practice which is evidently capable of producing new urban places of great ecological, economic, cultural, and social value in the context of ongoing urbanization globally.

The Placemaking Dividend

January 24, 2011

Speaker: Ronald Lee Fleming, President of the Townscape Institute

Ron Fleming, author of The Art of Placemaking, spoke on “The Placemaking Dividend.” This is the notion that by having what we call “a sense of place,” that unique collection of visual, cultural, social, and environmental qualities and characteristics that provides meaning to a location and makes it worth caring about, a town or neighborhood commands a desirability premium in attracting residents, workers, retailers, services, and investment.  This premium in turn allows the place to be more selective and demanding, thus allowing it to protect itself from homogenization and to reinforce its special sense of place.

Placemaking Notes-Collinsville_092611.pdf25.09 KB
Fall 2011 Placemaking Seminars Flyer.pdf35.67 KB