The Neighborhood Playbook
Activating Spaces >> Developing Places

Stories

Development should not happen to a place, it should happen with a place.

Pitch Night in Walnut Hills' Five Points Alley. Cincinnati, Ohio.

This mindset was the inspiration for the creation of The Neighborhood Playbook: Activating Spaces, Developing Places. The Playbook is a user-friendly field guide designed to help break through the fears of community change and mitigate the risks developers take when working in transitioning neighborhoods. The Playbook offers communities and developers five plays to incrementally go from their respective comfort zones to profitably realized physical investment in authentic, lasting places. It demonstrates how to:

  1. Discover an overlooked space disguised as valueless or problematic,

  2. Activate it with community-curated uses and things to do,

  3. Broadcast the unique qualities of what you are doing that attracts people,

  4. Work at a pace that allows one to evaluate and course correct before repeating, and

  5. Build incrementally on successes to attract successive waves of permanent investment in a place.

The Neighborhood Playbook is not meant to be read sitting down. It is built to be used, dog-eared, and marked up. It is not a planning tool but a partner-finding, problem-solving, investment recruiting, doing tool. Too often, communities stop once they have a plan, but that’s just the beginning and the Playbook illustrates how to take the next step. It is a must have for those who have a plan but have where-to-begin anxiety, for developers/investors who have a good gut feeling about a neighborhood but conventional wisdom defines it as too risky or off the grid, or communities who badly need positive change but might be fearful of said change.

Joe Nickol