|Toronto neighborhood corner store - re-imagined|
There are plenty of amazing street designs, laneway experiments, and examples of tactical urbanism that enliven and activate the street. The more people who walk and enjoy what Jane Jacobs called the street ballet the easier it is to humanize our neighborhoods and reduce fear and crime. This is the magic that is placemaking.
But did you ever notice how some versions of placemaking seem too expensive for the average person? Who has the time or money to redesign a laneway or install fancy lights, landscaping and pavement treatments?
LOOK TO THE LOCALS
An answer surfaced on recent trips to Toronto and Colorado Springs. The former took form in a small corner convenience store in a Toronto residential neighborhood.
|Sitting areas, barbeques, relaxing space for socializing - A corner store with a purpose|
Inside the store she brings in local artists and artisans with samples of their work. With a vested interest in seeing their own work, and the chance to visit with others, locals and families frequent the corner store and create their own neighborhood nexus with very little cost to the storeowner.
|Walls for local artists to show their stuff - free of charge!|
Another answer appeared along a downtown laneway in Colorado Springs. In this case locals used color and paint to enliven an otherwise dead space.
|Colorado Springs laneway made fun with paint highlights|
|Dull wall space transformed with paint|
|Adjacent restaurant getting in on some laneway action with colorful ad-art|