We often inherit a complicated relationship with the neighborhoods adjacent to the traditional downtown core. Those adjacent neighborhoods are sometimes very different in history and composition – the buildings are likely older, the land is less developed, and the community less affluent. The neighborhoods may be separated from downtown by historic and political barriers, including racist and exclusionary policies and years of broken economic development promises.
The Longest Table has welcomed local Grand Forks, North Dakota residents to sit down for a free meal in a welcoming environment with people they may not have known, to foster stronger connections, exchange stories, discuss community challenges and spur civic innovation. The Longest Table has been successful in engaging underrepresented populations in important civic conversations; providing everyday citizens with tools to be active participants in creating the community they want to have.
Carol Coletta leads the relaunch of Memphis River Parks Partnership, a nonprofit developing, managing and programming six miles of riverfront and five park districts. Previously, she led the two-year start-up of ArtPlace, a unique public-private collaboration to accelerate creative placemaking in communities across the U.S. and was President & CEO of CEOs for Cities for seven years.
For the past two years, beginning in 2018, the Longest Table has welcomed local Grand Forks, North Dakota residents to sit down for a free meal in a welcoming environment with people they may not have known, to foster stronger connections, exchange stories, discuss community challenges, and spur civic innovation. Through conversations with strangers around the table, attendees are encouraged to listen attentively, share openly, consider thoughtfully, and dream big.
The Financial District Online Interview Series was created to leverage the diverse business and employee voices in Toronto’s Financial District to build the district’s brand, increase employee awareness of the Financial District BIA and celebrate the diversity of the area. Rather than create a new marketing/branding campaign, we used the people in the district to build the brand and speak to the strengths of the area while engaging area employees on social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn).
Change is constant in our line of work, and when change continually occurs in urban places and spaces, the stories that we tell about them must hold true. But how do you change the narrative of place and what does that entail? For urban place managers, branding a district / place conjures more questions than answers: how much will it cost? How many stakeholder groups do we need to involve and who? How long will it take? What are we actually branding? What is our brand? Will this even make a difference? In this panel, practitioners will detail the process of refreshing or enhancing a brand, including insights into the somewhat complicated and contentious process of deciding when to take action, how to set budgets, who to work with and how a brand refresh impacts more than just marketing collateral – it also affects the entire built environment and visitor experience.
In 2011, the Downtown Denver Partnership acknowledged the need for a cohesive brand for downtown Denver and embarked on a branding campaign that encouraged residents, visitors, and employees to enjoy all that downtown Denver had to offer. The downtown Denver brand was already beginning to surface organically as the city emerged from an economic downturn, and the Partnership embarked on creating a strategic marketing strategy to more intentionally encapsulate the place brand.
Annie Milli is the Executive Director of Live Baltimore, a nationally recognized 501(c)(3) Residential Marketing Organization. A self-described “accidental urbanist,” Ms. Milli began her career as a graphic designer, later becoming an art director and executive in the field of commercial advertising. Ms. Milli led Live Baltimore’s marketing division from 2013 to 2017, during which time she developed a resident retention initiative, targeting city families.
Kemi Ilesanmi is the Executive Director of The Laundromat Project, which brings arts, artists, and arts programming into local coinops to amplify the creativity that already exists within communities. With over 15 years experience in the cultural arena, she is inspired by the immense possibilities for joy and social impact at the intersection of arts and community. Prior to joining The LP, she was Director of Grants and Services at Creative Capital Foundation.
A member of the Burning Man community since 1993, Stuart was one of the organization’s first year-round volunteers. In his current role he focuses on cultural development programs including public education, staff and volunteer training, and historical documentation. He is also deeply involved in the event’s creative direction, as co-author of the last three event themes and a collaborator in designing the Black Rock City experience.
Christopher Beynon, AICP is an international leader in the transformation of our urban environments. A principal at the Berkeley-based design firm MIG, he has led planning, urban design and economic development projects that have resulted in real change for cities throughout North America, including Denver, Boston, Anchorage, Winnipeg, Charlotte, Spokane, Dallas and Calgary.
Vanessa German is a visual and performance artist based in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homewood, whose cast-off relics form the language of her copiously embellished sculptures. She is also the founder of Love Front Porch and the ARThouse, a community arts initiative for the children of her historic Homewood neighborhood.