Placemaking Philosophy

Built environments last a long time, and they have great power to influence the lives of people (and other living things). So I believe it’s important that we do the very best we can. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than working with smart, passionate people and creating places of lasting value.

I once read this line: idealism without action is meaningless. I don’t know who said it, but it’s true. I’m not a fan of “talkitecture.” I like to get things done.

Traditional focus groups lead to “New Coke.” Useful information must be obtained through other, more artful means. I believe in the unFocus Group and the IDEO model of broad exploration.

Most researchers spend too much time looking in the rear-view mirror. Their projections for the future are often too firmly anchored in established patterns. Sometimes the market is ready for the new. The disruptive. The start of a different pattern. (Think iPod and Kindle and social media.)

That said, there is always a place for tradition. The new and old are not mutually exclusive. They are richly complementary. (Think town square and farm-to-table dining.)

As Frederic Morton said, we have one foot in memory and one foot in prophecy.

You have to be fearless.

And you have to persevere. As my husband said, “Try again. Try harder.”

Make time for the non-urgent. The random. The small but essential stuff of your life.

The importance of a good cup of coffee cannot be overestimated.
(See “Things I love.”)

It’s always about the customer.

The visionary and the pragmatist are like the accelerator and the brake. You need both to get where you’re going without an accident.

Travel. Often.