Welcome back to Place Parts, Episode 3, a short video feature in anticipation of the release of my third book, Sustaining a City’s Culture and Character: Principles and Best Practices, available very shortly in the United States, and eventually, around the world. 

Today, we follow up Episode 2, which provided a primer on the multidimensional aspects of place, with another important book focus: how we evaluate successful places and avoid a mere storybook picture rather than a realistic, evolving blend?

In day-to-day city life, I have spoken with several friends—both neighbors and peer professionals—who haven’t needed a generic list of attributes to understand places that resonate with residents and visitors. They describe a sense of place, perhaps derived organically from a historic asset, or a set of traditionalist architecture and urban design principles.

In the video, I briefly share the contrasts displayed today in Newbury, Berkshire, England, a planned market town dating from the 11th century. The friends and professionals noted above often regret some scenes which I share in the video, where iconic storybook imagery is displaced by the sights and sounds of today.

How to achieve sustainable blends of the storybook with the synthetic and discordant? Stay tuned for more examples and conversations, to help keep us mindful of the stereotypical versus the real.

Review the special “landing page” for Sustaining a City’s Culture and Character here.

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