As we emerge from the pandemic, why center only on architectural compatibility or placemaking listicles? Why not admit the common adage, that the city–and its places–are a stage? As Futurecity Ltd cultural strategist Sherry Dobbin advises, the stage should be choreographed based on a comprehensive analysis of stakeholders’ fantasies and fears.

I tout Sherry’s approach in Sustaining a City’s Culture and Character, and I consulted with her several times in 2019 and 2020 to help refine the book’s key messaging. Google Sherry and learn of her precedent-setting Times Square experience facilitating arts and culture in a reclaimed pedestrian place. From her understanding of human nature comes, in my humble opinion, the magical synergy we really need.

First, in the video, we discuss her “small d, director” approach, including the often unseen heroes of placemaking facilitation. Second, there’s a London story and a Moscow story. Third, Sherry tells Times Square stories about outdoor opera.

As with my previous Place Parts chats with Tia Kansara and Katherine Loflin, I emerged more committed to the importance of immersive, critical thinking about changing environments. I have renewed faith in those who can bridge government, the private sector, and the non-profit world. There’s no disguising that these are my agendas as well.

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

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