Featured on mml.org
For Immediate Release: June 7, 2012
“It’s About Place” Top 10 Contest Finalists Selected
Public Voting Eclipses 37,000 in Let’s Save Michigan Placemaking Competition
Let’s Save Michigan’s “It’s About Place”contest recently wrapped up the public phase of online voting and the 10 finalists now go to a panel of placemaking experts to determine the winners.
The non-profit organization asked stakeholders across Michigan to find an underutilized space in their community—an alley, a pocket park, a vacant lot—and then work together with members of the community to create and design a plan to turn that underutilized space into a welcoming, vibrant public place.
The contest received 46 creative, exciting proposals, and for three weeks, the public voted online for their favorites. The public voting closed at midnight on June 1, 2012 with over 37,000 votes cast. The top 10 finalists now go on to the final round where a panel of placemaking experts will choose a winning project to receive $2,000. The judges also will award prizes of $500 and $1,000 to multiple runners-up. The money will be used to implement the projects the community members designed. The winners will be announced later this month.
“These finalists represent a large swath of the state, from Muskegon to Detroit,” says Let’s Save Michigan Project Coordinator Sarah Szurpicki. “But the real story is how many entries there were, from Marine City to Manistique. We are very excited because it clearly shows how important the message of placemaking is in Michigan communities. We want to find ways to help all the entrants because citizens everywhere are hungry for quality places in their communities. This is only the beginning of what’s possible.”
The top 10 finalists, in order of votes received, are:
Muskegon: The Fat Garden Project (5,687 Votes)
Wyandotte: Downtown Pocket Park (4,295 Votes)
Flint: Riverfront Park Revival Project (3,622 Votes)
Hazel Park: Hazel Park Library Friend Plaza (3,347 Votes)
Ypsilanti: CityFARM (2,367 Votes)
Detroit: Innovation Square (2,090 Votes)
Detroit: Canfield Social Yard (1,962 Votes)
Milford: Growing Greens Community Garden (1,940 Votes)
Saline: Alley Project (1,468 Votes)
Hartland: Old Hartland High School (1,184 Votes)
Judges will give significant weight to the feasibility of a project in selecting the winners, as well as to submissions that show they have considered how to manage the project over time. Other criteria include creativity and originality, community engagement and the overall impact that the project could have on the community.
Let’s Save Michigan enlisted national placemaking experts to judge the It’s About Place Contest. The judges are:
- Nate Berg, Staff Writer for The Atlantic Cities. Nate is a journalist whose work has appeared in multiple media outlets including The New York Times, National Public Radio, Wired, Metropolis, Fast Company, Dwell, Architect and many others.
- Diana Lind, Editor in Chief of Next American City. Diana leads the Philadelphia-based nonprofit media organization dedicated to connecting cities and informing the people who are working to improve them.
- Kathleen Madden, Senior Vice President, Project for Public Spaces. Kathleen is an environmental designer who has been at Project for Public Spaces since its inception in 1975. Project for Public Spaces is a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities.