It’s about the Journey

Are you one of the people who arrives in a destination and immediately embarks on an exploratory walk? I have arrived in places at odd hours, after long fights, still itching to wander. Belize City on a blazing afternoon, Sydney Australia after a 24-hour flight – leaping the time meridian – to stroll eerily empty city streets with closed up shops. We soon discovered that a horse race inspires a national holiday in Auz. This was in the days before Sunday or holiday shopping in Australia; we had to search to find food and drink. Fortunately, we realized sleeping for an entire day was smart and inevitable anyway!

The following day we were wandering around the curves and arcs of the Sydney Opera House. I was inspired by the creation, the experience and the sheer power of place. Iconic was established and I was hooked.

Learn as you travel

This is the beginning of a series of stories sharing lessons learned along my journeys; because knowledge is meant to be shared.

Best practices from a larger or more highly resourced city can be examined, scaled to suit your size and implemented. The best way to do this is by visiting other cities; as many as you can, in multiple countries. Learn and assimilate through living the experience. My credo has always been: Ideas can be adapted – Don’t reinvent the wheel – rearrange the spokes.

I love the Spanish tradition of the Central Zocalo where the community gathers every day. Whether for a party, a market or their daily coffee it is the social hub. This success is due to much more than the built environment, there are myriad elements at play, the interesting challenge is discovering the harmony that makes it work.

Wandering pedestrianized streets from the mountains of Central America to the East Coast of North America I began to understand the required elements of critical mass and business mix that ensures a vibrant experience.

Place Management

Along those lovely streets and in public spaces of all sizes and shapes you see placemaking in action. The variety of ways this is done is amazing; some very natural and organic, others facilitated. Experiencing different options, soaking up the nuances, is the best way to absorb the lessons to be learned.

There are always challenges when dealing with public space and working to activate and enhance it. Whether a good idea is realized mostly comes down to available resources, however, other common barriers include restrictive bylaws and permitting. City administration is a required partner for meaningful public space management.

These are some of the topics to be explored in future stories about cities and destinations, what we saw, loved, wondered at, learned and carried home with us. Stories which will provide some insights, inspirations and ideas, while hopefully entertaining you as well. We will explore cities of many different sizes and locales that will be of interest to people involved in communities, destinations, business and place management. Join the journey of experiential travel and the quest for understanding.