Vienna Dolceloca

DolceLoca

If your local council town planning department is not very inspiring, then do it yourself! Get your community together, find out what you are legally allowed to change, then get to it! David Engwicht  (a former window washer and son of a gospel singer) is known worldwide for his inspiring ideas to re-imagine towns and reduce traffic (he helped to create the ‘walking shool bus’, and now has created a new website with a book to help makeover your town in 7 weeks. The book has 140 diagrams and 36 steps to work through, most are free or low-cost.

Learn how to make gardens & parks safe for pets (avoid planting lots of flowers in railings, as deer can get stuck in them). Avoid facing indoor foliage to gardens, to help stop birds flying into windowsAnd know trees to avoid near horses (including yew and oak).

Creative Communities also offers a program where you download materials and support to makeover your community ine just one week. You can also download a free sponsor’s guide to help you find funding for materials. Join up and ‘launch your town’ in just 12 weeks from visiting the website, to when you cut the ribbon! This will benefit not just local people, but also pets (more walkable communities and parks) and native birds and wildlife. And also help to support local independent shops, as people tend to get behind local people, when they take pride in a community (it’s called ‘placemaking’). Making over your town or village also will make the place more pleasant to visit, so will help to bring in extra income from tourism. The process involves:

  1. Deciding an action plan (and seeking funding)
  2. Creating an information meeting (in a local community centre)
  3. Recruiting volunteers and experts
  4. Having media interviews
  5. Creating a safety plan (sharps boxes, safety vests etc)
  6. Getting to work!
  7. Balancing the books
  8. Launch party!

There was a time when people could build a building wherever they liked, which resulted in classic French villages and Italian hill towns, whose streets have an organic feel. Now we rely on one or two planners. Cities define residents as ‘customers’ so the resident says ‘You provide the roads, remove the rubbish and fix the conflicts I have with my neighbours. I pay the money, you give me the product’. At the same time, residents are saying ‘I no longer belong to a vibrant community, I no longer have a connection to my neighbours’. Cities need to hand back that responsibility to residents. David Engwicht

One fan of this inspiring man is US organisation Project for Public Spaces, where you can find lots more help and ideas. Its book How to Turn a Place Around is a ‘recipe book’ for town planners and volunteers to makeover their towns and cities, from boring sterile places to become ‘places for people’.

digital before/after images of New Urbanism

Urban Advantage is a free ‘online book’ for town planners, by an American who produces digital before/after images of what towns could look like by widening pavements, planting trees etc. Take a look at these three before/after makeovers – it’s pretty addictive when you see what can be done!

urban advantage

urban advantage

urban advantage

urban advantage

urban advantage

urban advantage

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