Author Archive

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Placemaking Needs Updating

Placemaking promotes connections and experiences for everyone by building spaces around the community’s needs. The intimate connection between people and the places is shared by emotion. To continue building these connections, placemaking should be updated more often to accommodate the communities needs beyond seasonal celebrations and festivals.

Planners, designers, and artists have the responsibility to shape the public realm and maximize experience in these spaces. When Projects for Public Space (PPS) surveyed people about what placemaking means to them, we found that it is a crucial and deeply-valued process for those who feel intimately connected to the places in their lives.

Chinese New Year was on February 5, 2019, this year, it’s also called the Lunar New Year! In Chinese Culture, this was the most important festival in the year. Similar to Christmas and the Gregorian calendar New Year’s in American culture, placemaking starts around one month before the actual date.

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Chinese New year Parade

2019 is “The Year of the Pig”. As a tradition, there was an annual parade on February 10th to celebrate. Also, traditional red lanterns and flags were hung in Chinatown to represent welcoming luck and prosperity.

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Chinese New year Parade

I was at Las Vegas during the weekend festivities, and I was impressed by their efforts to welcome Chinese tourists by decorating all of the casinos with red and Spring Festival decor. You will see “pig” decorations throughout the Las Vegas Strip and throughout the city.

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Unfortunately, Spring Festival is always in winter, where the weather has the chance of being harsh, making it hard to do placemaking or event outdoor. Some community gathered people by hosting events to do some culture traditional such as making dumplings, cutting paper, traditional drawings and singing.

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But placemaking should not be limited to celebrating the festival, it should be updated according to the community’s needs. Some placemaking changed by season, artists change different mural or design from time to time.

For examples:

Melrose Avenue, California:

Same wall but different mural all the times:

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Sources: Pictures from google

Rockefeller Center:

(Different set up by the change of the season)

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Making the user connect to the place, one of the tricks is to update the space by season and festival to refresh the vision and feeling. Planner, designer and artist’s new design to space would give it a different meaning and keep the space energetic and interesting. Think for the users, the culture of the community, demographic, and find the point to make the connection with them.

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What is the Placemaking

Mei Fang, who is an urban planner with a strong passion for urban and landscape design, she also enjoys looking for the variety of culture inside of the city.

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Exhibits to Visit in DC to Learn about Black History

Two years ago, for Black History Month I shared some of my favorite urban planning books about the Black community and how transportation shaped black communities. This February, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite exhibits DC area celebrating Black History. Whether you visit in February or any other time during the year, they are an opportunity to learn more about the past, present, and to think about the future.

Do you have any suggested places to visit?

Veronica O. Davis, PE is a transportation guru who uses her knowledge to spark progressive social change. As Co-owner and Principal of Nspiregreen, she is also responsible for the management of the major urban planning functions such as transportation planning, policy development, master planning, sustainability analysis, and long range planning. In July 2012, Veronica was recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House for her professional accomplishments and community advocacy, which includes co-founding Black Women Bike.

Thailand Crash

Thailand’s Deadly Roads and the Global Pandemic of Traffic Crashes

A total of 463 people died in 3,791 traffic crashes in Thailand between December 27, 2018 and January 2 of 2019. Yes, you read correctly. In the span of seven days, 463 people lost their lives during the country’s “seven dangerous days” over the New Year holiday when Thais were traveling to visit friends and family for the one week festival. This was an increase to 2017’s 423 deaths during the “seven dangerous days”.

Thailand’s roads are the deadliest roads in Southeast Asia. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 22,941 people die each year in traffic crashes in Thailand. That’s an average of 62 deaths per day. 73% of those deaths are people riding motorcycles, which have become the most popular form of transportation for many households. Thailand is also ranked 2nd in the world for most lethal roads after Libya by the World Health Organization. Their road collision-related death rate is 32.7 out of every 100,000 people. In Libya, in 2015 their reported rate was 73.4 deaths out of every 100,000 people. In United States an estimated 40,100 people were killed in 2017 with a current death rate of 12.4 out of every 100,000 people. But understand that even though United States has a higher total of traffic crashes per year than Thailand it has a lesser rate because United States has an overall population of 325.7 million whereas Thailand has a population of 69.04 million.

Why is Thailand’s traffic fatality rate so high? One of the noted obstacles to safer roads is lack of enforcement of traffic rules. Drunk driving and speeding are the most reported causes of crashes. In addition to drunk driving and speeding, the failure to wear helmets and seatbelts and the lack of restraints for children are among the biggest risks for road safety that is embedded in the culture. Cultural habits can be difficult to change. The number of police traffic stops have increased in certain areas and there have been more signs mandating motorcyclists to wear helmets, but are those the only factors when it comes to tackling this problem, especially if they have proven to not be efficient enough?

Road safety is a worldwide issue that is not addressed enough. Road crashes have been labeled a global pandemic by the Pulitzer Center and are the eighth leading cause of death for people of all ages, with 1.35 million people dying on the road in 2016. These crashes and untimely deaths are preventable.  Globally, there are proper measures to approach this great issue that requires a collaboration of disciplines:

  • Policies and enforcement in regards to proper speed limits, alcohol impairment, seat-belt use, child restraints, and safety helmets.
  • Adequate road design and transportation facilities (bicycle, pedestrian, motorcycles, and transit). When possible separate motor vehicles from more vulnerable modes such as people walking and biking. Promoting safer and more efficient travel for all users: motorists, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Placing traffic calming and proper signage.
  • Encouraging and implementing the use of safe and flexible modes of public transportation.
  • Powerful public awareness campaigns
  • Making vehicles more protective and visible for occupants, pedestrians, and cyclists. Using high-mounted brake lights and reflective materials on cycles, carts, rickshaws and other non-motorized forms of transport.

For something so preventable, traffic crashes in Thailand and around the world really need a bigger outcry.

Jazmin Kimble is an Urban Planner and Urban Designer  from Long Island, NY. She has a passion for empowering and planning adequate, equitable communities through the lens of Geodesign, Urban Design, Community Development, Architectural Design, Sustainability, Environmental Solutions, and Community Engagement. Jazmin believes the culture and the history of a community is what makes it unique. This approach allows her to design with communities from a holistic viewpoint.





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