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Live Blogging, Christopher Leinberger (Placemaking Conference)

by Steve Lackmeyer Published: April 3, 2013

Talking about downtown Chattanooga, Tenn. which he did a study for.
Great revival. Volkswagen picked town was because of the quality of downtown, reminded them, senior execs of great urbanism back in Germany. Says Oklahoma City could have competed for this plant.

Praises urban revival in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Talks about Arlington, Va., shows photo of ex-Sears stores in 1980s. Abandoned. SHopping cCenter. Today, same place is Apple Store, Crate and Barrel, expensive condos on top.
Two blocks south, goes back to single family housing. They can live in “suburban splendor and walk to this great urban destination.”
Now Ann Arbor, Mi. He notes Norman should have great walkable places. Notes Norman has two. So does Ann Arbor. Those are six blocks apart, and now high density development taking place between Ann Arbor’s two walkable areas. Alums moving in, a lot of excitement.
Placemaking is a three legged stool, he says. The public sector is important. Need private sector, they take the risk. Need placemaking community as third, no-profits, help management, study, promotion of placemaking.
Run festivals, keep area clean, run parking, then move into capital investment mode, build parks, streetcars.
This is the future of placemaking. You’re essentially the mayor of a 400 acre place, and you don’t have to run for anything, you don’t have to kiss babies.
Now he’s talking about Bryant Park, 15 acres, $250,000 budget, best “drug making sector,” known as needle park. Turned over to private sector, now $8 million budget, now known as best urban park.
“It’s a stunning, stunning success story, and all done privately. It goes from a line item pain in the butt for the city to who can make the most money on it turning it into a great place.”
(My note: this is also true. I’ve seen Bryant Park, it’s amazing, and you can see it’s influence on the makeover of Myriad Gardens).
Says downtown OKC can support up to 10 great walkable places with population, but only has two. Where are those other 7 to 8 great walkable places?
“If you want a great market, offer the market what it wants.”
Leinberger is finished speaking, now taking questions.

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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