Designing Local: Revealing Our Truest Communities
A revolution in placemaking begins now. We work too hard as urban planners and designers to settle for bland, mediocre places. Our work should be inspiring and creative. Your new day and your community’s reveal is a quick but powerful read away. Help your city, town or neighborhood extract its essence and showcase itself to the world. More
We work too hard as urban planners and designers to settle for bland, mediocre places. Our work should be inspiring and creative, but established practices have us copying plans and stamping out versions of whatever’s popular at the time. Our current culture wastes too much time worshipping other communities and trying to get what they have. Why do we plan the same ideas and implement them on the ground—together—when this practice renders our places invisible in the process? It’s time for this old system to die.
Designing Local ushers in a new era when remarkable neighborhoods and cities are invented and our professions are elevated. We can now ignore fads that come and go, reject mass production, and embrace The Local. We can finally do inspired work and set our places apart from the rest. We’ll bring attention and praise to our communities, increase tourism, lure startups, and attract new residents who seek special and meaningful addresses.
The secret to creating remarkable places is in this book is in this book. Your new day and your community’s reveal is a quick but powerful read away. Help your city, town or neighborhood extract its essence and showcase itself to the world.
“Progressive-minded planners have a whole toolkit of best practices that they use to ensure that their communities put their best faces forward, but the problem with best practices is that they become templates. Transform enough abandoned mills into cute artisanal-gastro-boutiques, repurpose enough suburban strip malls into the same mixed-use live-play-shop destinations, and you are simply replacing one form of generica with another.
Kyle Ezell has written an important and timely manifesto that challenges planners, designers, and place-makers of every stripe to stop confusing imitation with innovation. There are 90,000 municipalities in the US and every one of them has its own story to tell. As Designing Local makes abundantly clear, local integrity is more than an esthetic preference. Authentic design is a powerful driver of economic development.”
–Richard Florida, University of Toronto, NYU, The Atlantic Cities, author of The Rise of the Creative Class
“We are all sick to death of mass production and consumption and the soul-numbing cities that result. This book provides the intellectual weight to synergize ‘The Local’ movement, helping it catapult out of the sidelines and into the spotlight. Designing Local leverages the design sensibility of an inchoate but energized movement, helping to devise synergistic strategies that will make local sensibility become the modus operandi of cities throughout the U.S. and beyond.”
–Emily Talen, Professor, Arizona State University, author of City Rules
“Today’s forward-looking communities compete globally for people and investment, often by modeling each other’s strategies. Unfortunately, that’s not always a clear path to success. Kyle Ezell deftly turns the standard global approach on its ear by showing how nourishing ‘The Local’ can be the best way to stand out from the rest. Community leaders will find Designing Local both a straightforward call to action and an enjoyable read. By building on unique traits, communities can provide an intoxicating choice for newcomers and visitors while reinforcing a proud local identity.”
–William Murdock, AICP, Executive Director, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission
"While every company tries to convince you of how much different and better it is than every other company, every city tries its hardest to convince you it's exactly like every other city that's conventionally considered cool. In Designing Local, Kyle Ezell tackles this head on, calling on cities to avoid merely chasing fads and to think hard about their own unique character while recognizing the role that best practices can play.
Aaron Renn, Publisher of The Urbanophile