INVENTORYING ASSETS AND ACTIVATING PLACES
On Thursday February 11th Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) had the pleasure of hearing Kristin Cypher of Michael Baker International speak about Inventorying Assets and Activating Places in communities across the state!
Why is it important to identify assets?
See your everyday space with fresh eyes
Engage with your community
Those that don’t usually have a voice at the table, how to get them to participate
Meet people where they are
Meeting people physically in their space
Temporary activations- easy, quick
Identify special and unique community places
Paonia - winery area
What is an asset?
Think of creative areas of opportunity - Trinidad example
Unique cultural & historic places and resources - creative districts
Gathering places, hang out places, destinations - both existing places and potential places
Questions to ask yourself when identifying assets
- What is your superpower?
- What is your critical weakness?
- Who is your greatest nemesis?
- What is you origin story?
Identify what are you passionate about & where in your community can that be realized
What is the engine that drives your community?
Activations can tell a different story
What is one word to describe assets in your community?
- Activation Plan
What does it mean to activate a space?
Activated uses & events - with COVID - automobile space to people space
Activated Redevelopment - vacant storefront and use --- pop up space of further area - burst of an event, show what can be done there
Vacant lot activation
Lamar - more active and community members, vacant lot in middle of downtown
Meeting people where they are - use materials that are accessible and ways to reach out to people
Lights, chairs, tables, heat
Programming - food truck, artist come, games, live music
Led to creating available funding for more permanent activation - community driven and funded - created
Gathering space now -- used by community and as regional space
Historic Storytelling Activation
Wanted to tell story of history
Creative signs spread throughout the city
Catch people where they already are - hanging around areas ex: in front of performance center where people wait in line for show
Art, Culture & Connection Activation
Start with temporary stuff - murals, temporary tree pieces
Turn into permanent
Beautify space - activate vacant property
Meet people where they were
Some crazy ideas for activation
Vacant lots - outdoor dining with multiple restaurants seating
Use your spaces to ask people what they want to do in the spaces
Food trucks, spaces for food trucks
Pop up main street
Goal for activation - more vibrancy, see the potential for your community
What is your activation idea?
- Street, sidewalk murals
- Pocket park - how they would like to use it
- Stencil a logo
- Using natural resources - temporary things -- haybale
- Chalk crosswalk
- Pop up bike lane
- Food Trucks
Often the ideas are much easier to get than City permission. How much do you suggest engaging City staff? Oftentimes they can be great, but they also often have more rigid supervisors that lack creativity and say no. How do you balance all the community time and energy with naysayers and obstructionists in the City government?
Engage with city council early on in the process
- Walk along and show ideas
- Involve them as part of it
- Rally your voices - so have something other than naysayers
- Encourage city council to fill out community asset form
- Think about users, different perspectives
- Build groundwork out
Stand on stronger foundation - special places are, tell special stories
Kristin's Worksheets for asset identifying and community activation planning
Michael Baker International