Mayor Buckhorn opened the second Knowledge Exchange with a powerful statement on public spaces:
“It’s the lifeblood of the urban experience.”
The public realm, which is any space open to everyone, includes our parks, streets, museums and much more. These are the spaces where people want to be, and they help create a vibrant and engaged community.
Gary Lawrence, the chief sustainability officer at AECOM, presented an enlightening study on the benefits of trees in public spaces. From a logistics perspective, a city can look at trees as a nuisance—they shed leaves everywhere, their roots can tear up sidewalks and their braches cover merchant signage. But when the study looked at hard facts, streets with trees versus streets without had 30 percent higher retail sales because the trees created an environment that people enjoyed visiting.
Dave Barth and Stroud Watson rounded off the evening with discussions on creatively using public spaces and maximizing our waterfront. Particularly poignant was the “Power of Ten” rule, where every great, dynamic public space will have at least 10 things to do each week. The more flexible and multi-functional we make venues, the more likely people are to be invested and engaged.
Our next Knowledge Exchange will take place May 30 at 6 p.m. in the Tampa Convention Center. We’ll be discussing economic development from both public and private perspectives.
Be sure to RSVP at InVisionTampa@gmail.com.