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Mayor's Neighborhood Conference 2012: Great Neighborhoods - Great Places

Held on Saturday, October 13, 2012, at Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center

Madison is a place that has, and will always have, creative ideas from people of all walks of life. Madison has places of beauty, buildings and places that have a function, but it also has places that don't have everyday activities that make them lively. At the recent citywide neighborhood conference, the keynote speaker, Fred Kent, President of Project for Public Spaces stated the we need to" turn a place upside down and inside out" to remake it as a place that people want to be.

Over 250 citizens attended the full-day neighborhood conference. We had conversations about place – what neighbors and businesses can do quickly and cheaply to make overnight type changes. Outside eating areas, movies in the park, temporary store structures are people-attracting features. We talked about that civic spaces should have 10 activities –referred to as the "Power of 10" –to ensure that a continual draw happens at a park, street corner, or in civic places such as the front of our libraries. You could tell that the neighborhood leaders, business owners, nonprofits, and government officials attending recognized the vast possibilities to make places more invigorating.

If there was a single lesson from Mr. Kent's visit it was that people intuitively understand the spaces they use and that how they feel informs what they do. The neighborhood conference was the first day in which we started to think anew about "lighter, quicker, cheaper" methods to activate public spaces. We will move ahead this coming year to "activate" spaces and create a more vibrant community. Go to "Videos" for broadcast of the placemaking keynote and workshops.

Fred Kent


We were excited to have Fred Kent, President of Project for Public Spaces, kick off the full day event. Mr. Kent is a leading authority on revitalizing city and neighborhood spaces. Fred talked about the importance of the "Power of 10" in Placemaking. At the core of this concept is the idea that any great place itself needs to offer at least 10 things to do or 10 reasons to be there. Many thanks to Madison Gas & Electric Company for bringing Mr. Kent to our hometown.


Place Matters

Placemaking can be used to improve all of the spaces that comprise the gathering places within a community - its streets, sidewalks, parks, buildings, and other public spaces - so they invite greater interaction between people and foster healthier, more social, and economically viable communities.

Yep, Madison neighborhoods have superb examples of placemaking. Come to the conference, become inspired , then
go out and create more great places! While you are at the conference, take in other workshops covering leadership, management, and building partnerships that are important for successes at the local level.

Share your Favorite/Least Favorite Place

We asked Madisonians to tell us what was their favorite and least favorite places in Madison. We used this input as part of several workshops. We'll continue the conversation on how we can turn a place around to make places more valuable for residents and the business community.


Twenty workshops were offered at the full day conference. Participants heard about why placemaking matters, how to transform neighborhood places quickly, and how best to work with government and city agencies.