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Making a Place for Growth and Connections

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Imagine your ideal community. What does it look like? What makes it idyllic? And what is the community built around?

These questions and more are the root of placemaking and will be the focus of "Go Places: A Day of Placemaking in Kalamazoo," an event set for Thursday, April 30, at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo.

Placemaking refers to the movement focused on transforming places into the heart of a community. By re-imagining public spaces, individuals and groups are inspired to transform underutilized areas and create new locations for people to connect and share a deeper sense of community.

Collaborative in nature, refers to the movement focused on transforming places into the heart of a community. The concept is more than simply designing a space as a city planner might do. Instead, it is about the people who live, work, and play within the area coming together to shape their chosen environment.

The third event of its kind locally, Go Places will discuss current area projects, including the Riverview Launch-Kalamazoo Landbank, Kalamazoo Nature Center's Urban Nature Park, the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, and Kalamazoo Valley Community College's Health and Wellness Campus. Landscape Forms, a Kalamazoo-based designer and manufacturer of outdoor furniture and accessories, is planning and hosting the event as in years past.

Becky Fulgoni of Landscape Forms explained that they really started getting involved in placemaking through their clients and projects.

"It's all about health, the way people live and want to enjoy the community they are part of and understanding how building and creating a sense of place is important to the vitality of the community," Fulgoni said.

Keynote speaker Susan Silberberg will share findings from her recent study, "Places in the Making: How Placemaking Builds Places and Communities," during a morning session. A breakout workshop called "Getting to Critical Mass in Kalamazoo" will be offered in the afternoon.

Overall, the focus will be on creating synergies amongst current projects and activity in Kalamazoo to capitalize and leverage the ideas of placemaking and the impact it has on a community.

Pre-registration is required by Monday, April 21. To register, contact Melody Deacon at 269.568.8670 or email campaign@parksfoundationkalamazoo.com.

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