“For the Love of Cities” author selected to lead placemaking workshop

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By Danielle Chesney
Entirely East Lansing

Community and Economic Development Administrator Lori Mullins describes the reason for the recent peacemaking efforts in downtown East Lansing.

EAST LANSING – The East Lansing Community and Economic Development office enlisted a lover of cities to lead their upcoming placemaking workshop April 22.

Community and Economic Development Administrator Lori Mullins contacted Peter Kageyama last fall. Kageyama said that she had heard him speak and wanted to find a way to bring him to East Lansing.

Kageyama is the author of “For the Love of Cities: The Love Affair Between People and Their Places” and “Love Where You Live: Creating Emotionally Engaging Places,” and hosted a TEDx talk on how to build a relationship with one’s city in 2011. Both his books and his TEDx talk focus on urban planning, design and development, which apply directly to the goal of the Love EL workshop.

“We’re having Peter Kageyama come and lead this workshop that will inspire community members to become co-creators in downtown East Lansing,” said Mullins. “The idea is that we have a really lively downtown, and we want community members to feel like it’s their own, and to feel more involved and more active in the placemaking efforts.”

The Love EL workshop will focus on “placemaking” efforts within East Lansing, which refers to multi-faceted approaches to design, planning and management of public spaces in order inspire and promote the happiness of residents.

In the workshop, Kageyama will show community members how they can contribute to their city through small projects.

“We tend to think of city building as big stuff: roads, bridges, schools,” said Kageyama. “But city building can be small stuff like a community garden, a little dog park or a neighborhood festival. These small things that we as citizens lead on are incredibly important to add to the mix of the big stuff that cities typically lead on.”

Kageyama said the biggest obstacle for placemaking in the city will be to challenge the idea that East Lansing ‘s main downtown is only for college kids.

“Of course much of the retail, bar, restaurants and entertainment is geared towards the college-aged crowd,” said Kageyama, “but vibrant downtowns that can find reasons for all ages to come to them are a better goal. I think this is an area where East Lansing could improve. Cities such as San Luis Obispo, home of Cal Polytechnic or Fort Collins, Colorado have found a great balance in their downtown offerings.”

The Love EL workshop is just one of multiple placemaking efforts put forth by the city, said Mullins, such as the ice rink this past winter or the community garden to come this May..

The free workshop is open to anyone interested in placemaking in East Lansing and will take place at the East Lansing Marriott Hotel on 300 M.A.C. Ave. from 4-7:30 p.m. Registration for the event will close April 18.

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