Helloooo Detroiters, PPP'ers and those of you who will continue to celebrate the life and unique comedic genius of actor Robin Williams...
The P3 is Dead, Part 2: Have You Experienced the Power of the People in Urban Placemaking?
I wrote my last blog post, The P3 is Dead: The Rise of the P5 as the 21st Century Tool for Placemaking and Urban Regeneration, to spark a conversation about a shift in the landscape of urban placemaking and neighborhood revitalization. And boy did a conversation get sparked! Thousands of you PPP'ers read, forwarded and posted the blog post (thank you so much!), and many of you wanted to know more about how each of the players fit into the grand scheme of P5 Partnerships.
Well you asked for it and now you've got it! This post will be the first of my new 5-part blog series spotlighting each of the "Ps" within the P5 Partnership universe.
This blog post will focus on the P for People.
The People as Urban PlaceMakers and Neighborhood Change Agents
Individual People can now be the catalyst and the implementer -- no longer do the People have to wait for the public or private sector in a P3 framework to implement neighborhood revitalization projects.
As an example of the more robust power of the People to create a P5 to effect neighborhood change, let's discuss New York City's famed High Line. Friends of the High Line Co-Founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond didn't wait for the government or the private sector to try to save an elevated rail spur from demolition in a New York neighborhood -- they just did it!
Those guys single-handedly catalyzed a P5 Movement to revitalizate the High Line and the surrounding neighborhood. Joshua and David (two individual "Ps" who had never met before) sat next to each other at a community meeting on demolishing the High Line and realized they both wanted to stop the demo. They decided to form a non-profit called Friends of the High Line (another "P"), received private and philanthropic donations (that's two more P's!), and simultaneously leveraged the Herculean (and multimillion dollar) efforts of the Bloomberg mayoral administration (yep, the public sector-- the final "P" in the High Line P5!). It took all of the P5 Players to re-envision and remake the High Line.
The High Line was and is a People-powered P5. Joshua and David became the change they wished to see in the world. And they used every player in the P5 universe to do it.
The Rise of People-Powered Placemaking with all of the P5 players isn't just a New York, big city, massive project thing -- it's happening around the world and is driving small-scale change too!
Jeniffer Heeman of Curativos Urbanos in Brazil didn't wait for the government to help revitalize her neighborhood, she and others went out and did it themselves!
So why is this happening with greater frequency now? Why are there all of sudden many more P5 Partnership projects driven by People and revitalizing neighborhoods?
There are TWO reasons the High Line, Curativos Urbanos and other People-driven placemaking projects like the Heidelberg Project in Detroit have been able to leverage P5 Partnerships:
1) The Internet and
2) Mobile applications or "apps" that leverage the Internet.
The Internet and mobile apps are resource-raising, fundraising and awareness-raising tools that have changed everything for individuals. You probably used a new mobile "app" today, didn't you?
You have some blight in your neighborhood and want the blight removed? In Detroit and other cities you can leverage a smartphone app created by Detroit tech start-up Loveland Technologies and others to "blext" information and update a public mapping database that will include detailed information and highlight the problem properties. You could also work with Mosaic and the Urban Imprint team to train you on how to use the State of Place tool to help you assess your block or your neighborhood, and then affect change. State of Place™ is a data-driven decision-making and community engagement tool used by communities and funders to guide investments, interventions and policies that boost walkability and economic development in urban neighborhoods. The State of Place tool and Loveland's blexting technology are only two of the many applications and Internet-based technologies empowering the People. Whatever tool you use, you and your community members can now collect, reconcile and analyze important neighborhood placemaking data so that you are working with defensible information on the variables that directly affect a neighborhood's future.
There are so many things a neighborhood needs to survive, regenerate and thrive... how will the new power in the hands of People change the dynamic of neighborhood revitalization?
Individuals and the community can now arm themselves with data, share it and broadcast it worldwide, and get the public sector, private sector and the world to conspire with them to implement their revitalization vision-- if they're not too busy implementing their vision themselves!
The roles and responsibilities of CDCs, CDEs, CDFIs and neighborhood non-profits will also have to change, no?
What will be (or should be?) the role of community organizations going forward when there's more power in the hands (literally) of the People?
Behold the rise of the individual. Behold the rise of the People. Behold the rise of the P5.