The Project for Public Spaces’ ProWalk/ProBike/ProPlace Conference—North America’s premiere forum for walking and cycling professionals in both the public and private sectors–will be held in Pittsburgh September 8 to 11. More than 1,000 city planners, transportation engineers, community leaders and public health advocates from across the country are expected. Pittsburgh was chosen to host the conference for its status as “an ideal placemaking laboratory,” according to PPS.

As a lead-in, the Project for Public Spaces, in partnership with The Design Center and the Remaking Cities Institute, will stage a day-long training workshop for neighborhood and community leaders on the principles of placemaking from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 22 at CMU’s Margaret Morrison Hall.

“Placemaking strengthens the social, cultural, economic and ecological connections between people and the places they share,” says Chris Koch, interim CEO of The Design Center. “Over previous decades, we’ve lost many of our public spaces where people used to interact and build social capital, such as churches, public plazas and social clubs, so we need to find new ways to create places or expand current ones.”

The workshop will provide an overview of the principles of placemaking, examples of best practices and tools for evaluating public spaces, including a participatory on-site audit exercise for a public space near the workshop site. The workshop will conclude with a discussion about how to create more and better places in Pittsburgh.

“Our goal is to grow the local dialogue around placemaking, share national benchmarks and provide tools to develop community-based projects,” Koch says. At the September conference, she adds, “Community leaders will get to continue this conversation on a national scale.”

The Project for Public Spaces is a New York-based nonprofit organization which is dedicated to creating and maintaining public spaces which help build communities.

Tickets to the day-long seminar are $20 and available through the event’s website. Coffee and lunch will be provided.

Matthew Wein

Matthew Wein is a local writer, editor, blogger, storyteller and proud native Pittsburgher. Once described as "a man of things," he covers city design, spirits and craft beer for NEXT, where he keeps all...