Creating Place and Building Community

July 28, 2014 | Posted in: Real Estate

Place is not just buildings, it’s people and people are at the heart of creating place.  People deserve special buildings to celebrate their community so it’s important to remember place is not simply about the buildings it’s the science of building community.  A basic human need is socialization with other people. Buildings such as community centers seek to join people together while places like art galleries exist to further celebrate community while simultaneously providing the community with freedom of expression.

Wikipedia defines Community as a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. Community really means much more than that. People take great pride in their cities and communities. Communities come together after terrible tragedies, for example how the people of Boston came together in support of each other after last year’s Boston marathon bombing. Similarly, New York City and the entire United States came together after the tragic events of 9/11. Communities also come together to celebrate victories and events such as how Rio De Janeiro is coming together for the Olympics and celebrated the World Cup

Place is not buildings it’s building community. A place is nothing without the people who make it something unique. Without the essence of community, buildings are just buildings with the absence of place making.  When you think of some of the major cities in the world, unless you are an architect, you most likely don’t just remember the buildings. You remember the people. The hustle and bustle of New York City is what makes it exciting, including the use of park and open space and don’t forget the street scene. When thinking of Dallas, it is the southern hospitality, wonderful comfort food and ease of transporation that makes it exciting to visit and live.

There are all types of communities and places across the US.  When considering creating place within an already existing community it is extremely important to consider the surrounding community.  Where possible, it is critical to create extensions of place, assuming community and place already exist elsewhere within the Town or City.  A few examples of great place-making across the United States are Santana Row, The Grove, Buckhead, and Gulfstream.

1. Santana Row is an upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment complex located in San Jose, CA. Santana Row is approximately 1.5 million square feet and features over 70 shops, 20 restaurants, a 212 room hotel as well as a 6 screen movie theater. The design team responsible for Santana Row’s success includes SB Architects, BAR Architects, Steinberg Architects and landscape architects, The SWA Group and April Philips Design Works. The project was developed by Federal Realty Investment Trust and the shops at Santana Row works as a place to celebrate community because it includes everything from low-priced retail outlets to more upscale retailers such as Gucci.

2.The Grove in LA is a shopping complex that is built, owned, and operated by Rick J. Caruso and his company Caruso Affiliated. The Grove opened in 2002 and has been an incredibly popular outdoor shopping mall. In fact, the Grove is so popular, the famed tabloid television show Extra is filmed there. The Grove fosters its sense of community by its inclusion of unusual features such a famous “dancing fountain” which is designed by WET (the company that designed the fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas).

3. Buckhead is a commercial and financial center of Atlanta, Georgia. The area is prominently known for its high rise office buildings, hotels, and condominiums which establishes community by the formation of an urban core within Atlanta’s suburbs.

4. Gulf Stream in Aventura, Florida is a racetrack and casino. This area, in recent years, has been a venue for concerts and other types of performances which take place outside. It caters to many attractions as well as horse racing, numerous restaurants, and shopping boutiques, along with its vibrant nightlife.

These areas are just a few types of places which cater to the continuing trend of outdoor communities rather than indoor malls as a response to the demands of the millennial generation.  As a result of these demands, developers are branching away from the traditional indoor mall concepts and embracing the outdoor community instead.

My hope is that as we develop Dallas Midtown we can learn from other developments both locally and across the US and Internationally. Our goal is to embrace the local Dallas arts scene, through our Gallery at Midtown and the avid outdoor adventurist through use of open space and the Midtown Park.  I look forward to playing my part as developer and steward as I work alongside the City Staff, the Public and Elected Officials as we transform our North Dallas Community into Dallas Midtown.

Scott N. Beck, a Dallas Texas Greenhill alumni, received a Masters of Accounting from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin where he completed his B.B.A. Mr. Beck is a member of the Board of Directors of United Texas Bank and is President of Beck Ventures.

1 Comment

  1. DoraWrare
    April 12, 2017

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