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Title: Making Great Places
Resource type: Article
Topics: Communities, Education, Energy, Land Use, Transportation
Keywords: place, places, communities
Audience: All
Region: Minnesota Statewide, Outside Minnesota
Summary: A number of articles discuss how communities can make themselves into special places.
Content: "A different set of public priorities, and urban policies that respond to these priorities, accounts for the lively spirit of European metropolitan centers. Rather than accepting increasing auto traffic and creeping suburbanization as the inevitable march of 'progress,' as many Americans do, Europeans defend the vitality of their hometowns. Historic neighborhoods are protected, transit systems improved, pedestrian zones expanded, green spaces preserved, bike lanes added, and development guidelines enacted to head off ugly outbreaks of sprawl."

So writes Minnesotan Jay Walljasper (formerly of the Utne Reader) in a short article at the web site below, available without charge and for reprinting on web sites and in publications.

This new piece from the Elm Street Writers Group -- "How to Fall In Love With Cities: Lessons from Europe in Making Great Places" -- is from an essay in the 2003 book Toward the Livable City (see and search for the book title). The Writers Group, formed in 2000 and hosted by the Michigan Land Use Institute, is a group of journalists reporting on the successes, challenges, and other facets of Smart Growth nationwide.

Other Elm Street articles are available at and cover topics including:

* Could Smart Growth Tip the Next Presidential Election?

* Out of the Car and Into Shape

For dozens of well-described tools, case studies and other resources focused on the civic processes for making great places, see PlaceMatters is a national non-profit program helping communities engage in democratic, holistic and place-based planning.

Suggested by: Philipp Muessig
Added: 02/18/04
Updated: 07/21/11