Hierarchy of Needs: Application in Urban Design and Community-Building

"...given the central nature of humans in the the function of the urban form, it is reasonable to consider the adaptation of Maslow’s needs hierarchy to the field of urban design.  Understanding the innate motivations influencing the human inhabitants of the built realm can lead to more humane approaches to the design, development, and revitalization of our cities..."

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We Put 31 Artists, 25 Architects and 18 Urban Planners in a Room. Guess What Happens Next.

Originally published on the Next City Network at NextCity.org

The team: 31 artists and designers, 25 architects and housing experts, 23 community members, 18 urban planners, 11 local foundation and city representatives, 2 landscape architects and between them, eight Next City Vanguards.

The deadline: 24 hours.

The result: Nine distinct sets of ideas, condensed into 10 minute presentations, focused on a bunch of little things that can be done in one month, one year, and three years on Glass Street in East Chattanooga, an area in need and unquestionably deserving of The Next Big Thing Urbanism Workshop, hosted by Chattanooga non-profit Glass House Collective and inspired by the 2014 Next City Vanguard conference held in that city.

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Character Counts

Community character is something that urbanists often refer to. It describes the sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and emotions that a place might draw out of someone: the calm you feel when you look out past a deep porch to see a boat on the river beyond; the surprise scent of the salt marsh at low tide that wafts farther inland than you might have imagined it could; the way the taste of a fried soft-shell crab seems to match the feeling of the sun on your shoulders as the Lowcountry summer quickly approaches.

Community character is also about the quality of the shared social and cultural and natural and physical life of a place, and Beaufort has more character in all respects than most towns could dream of. Nowhere is that more on display than downtown, in Beaufort’s historic architecture and natural vistas and community warmth.   Downtown Beaufort is where the fabric of our community is kept alive, and working to ensure the character of that community is an organization now in its 29th year here in Beaufort: Main Street Beaufort USA.

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Find a problem, design a solution | GOOD

Originally published on the website and global community at GOOD.is

"...I saw a lot of “canceling out” early in my career as an urban designer. I poured myself into the creation of so many ideas for places that would never come to be, because an elected council member didn’t like the architecture in the renderings, or because a newspaper editorial painted the designers as “outsiders” in encouraging dissent, or because a group of competing land owners rallied fear of change in locals. I still remember each one of those losses of opportunity, and I continue to regret that every one of them came without meaningful conversations involving everyone invested..."

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From Commodity to Community

 "...As we systematically outsourced our experience of community, we simultaneously eroded the strength of our actual communities.  We lost (or failed to make) connections with those around us, with whom we shared geography or perhaps much more.  As the web of social capital became unwoven in our towns and neighborhoods, we made ourselves vulnerable to those factors beyond our community’s control.  We do not collectively share personal investment in our common place, and we now lack the benefits that a cohesive society can bring..."

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