Book Review: Great Neighborhoods
Written by Ron Spark   

The Great Neighborhood Book explains how any community can be improved and enlivened, not by vast infusions of cash, not by government, but by the people who live there. Through real-life stories, this book addresses such challenges as traffic control, crime, comfort and safety, and developing economic vitality.

Offering compelling evidence of how people in communities have enhanced their own neighborhoods through "Placemaking" -- the PPS term for the process of transforming public space -- this exciting guide offers inspiring real-life examples that show the magic that happens when individuals take small steps, and motivate others to make change. It joins The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces and How To Turn a Place Around in the PPS library of publications that explore a place-based approach to improving neighborhoods.

This book is a must-read not only for neighborhood activists and concerned citizens but also for urban planners, developers and policy-makers.

Some of the chapters discuss:

  • How to foster a sense of community
  • How to create places to hang out
  • How to tame traffic and improve transportation    
  • How to assure neighborhood safety
  • How to boost neighborhood business vitality
  • How to keep your area clean, green and natural.
  • How to increase neighborhood fun and piazzazz.
  • How to get things done with and without the City government.

"In the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, a man helped transformed his neighborhood simply by putting a bench in his front yard. The first thing he noticed is that older people were walking around the block again because they had a spot to rest along the way. Then he saw other people stopping to talk to one another at the bench, increasing the community spirit of the area. Then, several other of his neighbors added benches to their yard, giving the whole block a more convivial feel."

This book is available through the Project For Public Spaces site.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 March 2008 )
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