Reimagining the Civic Commons — “Reveal, Connect, and Engage: How Design Thinking Can Help Cities”

March 2, 2017

“When you add it all up, the land owned and operated by local government on behalf of the public in American cities ranges from about one-third to one-half of the total area. In New York, for example, nearly 50 percent of the city is public realm. Anyone working in transportation has seen stats like this before, given that a good chunk of the percentage consists of streets, rail, and other parts of the public way. But when you add in the rest of what we own in common, from neighborhood recreation centers to city-owned vacant lots, the map is stunning. By showing city systems pulled out of their silos and expressed as a single network, what we see is that in every neighborhood and on every block there is a place and a reason to invest. There is way to reach people where they are, through the groups of buildings and sites, with services and support, that owe it to the communities where they reside to be more relevant, inclusive, and operate together, as a commons.”

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Libraries are one of many civic assets that can be reimagined as part of a civic commons.