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Your August Useful Community Plus
August 18, 2022

This Month: Tailor Outdoor People Magnets to Your Town and Its Character

Visit us at the Useful Community Development Website.

This month check out the community development ideas page.

August, 2022

Get Outdoors Right in the City

As summer turns to autumn in the northern hemisphere, it's still a great time to envision exciting outdoor spaces, even in the hearts of cities. Here are a few inspirational photos, each of which can be adapted to suburbs and small towns as well.

Your carousel may not be quite as colorful as this one from Paris near a Metro stop, but you can surely afford to contract for one for the weekend, as did a small town we worked with recently.

A sidewalk sale works in most business districts--including upscale ones--providing you can really browse. Those hard-to-browse racks stuffed with hanging clothes don't count though.

We purposefully did not crop this photo from the sidewalk cafe in Bryant Park, New York, to illustrate the important concept that if you want your public spaces to be multi-purpose and versatile, you can't cram every square inch with tables that the restaurant operator quickly thinks is their territory.

Of course tend to your own dedicated green space. Good landscaping and a gazebo that's a bit beyond the ordinary help this small town park in upstate New York really stand out. (For more small town stuff, see our small town character page.

A few food carts, another carousel, happy shoppers, and a big old historic building that still lets you see the vista on the other side...You know the drill, but how can you pull it off using the hyperlocal characteristics of your place? No historic buildings and a sun that's brutal instead of gentle? You might have to build a colorful tent jungle instead. No retail in your center of town anymore, or no center of town ever? You will need a farmer's market, flea market, or an urban market.

If you need to start small, very small, you could begin with installing a few tiny pop-up parks around your town to see what people like. See our page about parklets for some ideas. Try for three or four that are quite different from one another, and monitor closely what people like.

For more project ideas, we're leaving you with another reminder to browse in our community development ideas page.

We answered questions about:

Town codes not being enforced

Cars parked on narrow residential streets

Traffic laws and property codes not enforced, litter not picked up, despite high taxes

Store catering to witches and wiccans

Developer's Plan not filed as required by law in British Columbia

Feel free to reply with comments. To askg a question, use the public-facing community development questions page on the website. We'll be back soon on a Thursday in September.

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