Wisconsin Map

National Historic Cheesemaking Center- Explore the world of cheese at this Monroe, Wisconsin center. In the National Cheesemaking Museum, learn the history of cheesemaking and tour the historic Imobersteg Cheese Factory.

If this transformation into ‘places’ needs to occur, fostering ‘place making’ needs to be the guiding planning principle. What exactly is place making? Definitions vary. However, they coalesce around the idea of creating places where we want to ‘be’, not just ‘pass through’. Place making has been defined by the Urban Land Institute as ‘the creation of economically vibrant, aesthetically attractive, lively, pedestrian-friendly places’. It can provide an economic stimulus to the once-declining urban precincts ; high-quality places can be an economic boon by attracting visitors and negating a ‘brain and skill-drain’, and more importantly they can become magnets for the so-called ‘creative class’1. In a similar fashion, Project for Public Spaces encapsulates the concept as ‘creating good public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well-being’. Public ‘place’ evokes community pride, and the quest for place making has sparked urban and suburban transformations in diverse cities of the world. The principles of New Urbanism and Smart Growth in the US, Compact City in Europe, and Liveable Neighbourhoods in Australia, among others, are rooted in place making with an objective of encouraging pedestrian- and bike-friendly mixed-use places that facilitate face-to-face interactions and build social capital. As an antidote to urban sprawl, many of these principles have also been forwarded for ‘sprawl repair’, and for suburban and urban retrofitting.

Wisconsin Map Photo Gallery

Movements like New Urbanism and Smart Growth have been criticized for being overly prescriptive and adopting formulaic approaches to place making. Some accuse such movements of embracing ‘cookie-cutter’ planning and design as much as the standardized models of suburbanization following the Second World War did. These cultural landscapes start ‘look[ing] and feel[ing] alike’ and are ‘experienced through superficial and stereotyped images’.

Many place-making initiatives have used a recipe that mixes the ingredients of transport and land use in the right proportions to encourage walkability. To remedy ‘place-lessness’ and engender a sense of community, features of physical form contributing to aesthetic appearance are sprinkled around a fabricated theme like ‘old town’ or ‘urban village’. A contextually non-responsive design process is given precedence, and ‘begins by creating a tabula rasa onto which the physical features of a traditional conception of community are rolled out’.

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