Community Involvement


Author: Ashley Carter

I have lived in the Lansing community for more than 3 years now. I would enjoy seeing it thrive socially and economically through urban planning. In this short essay I have stated two improvements on new or future developments in the Greater Lansing community. I believe the good city principle is community Involvement. Community involvement is imperative to having a “Good City”. It should be a reflection of them, meaning their cultures and ideas should be included. It helps the citizens feel apart of something greater. It also could is a reason for them to keep it up because they made it happen. Paired with community involvement, I believe the new Spartan Village development could benefit from adding some creativity by becoming a space for local art events. While placemaking would be a key combined with the influence of the people form the area to transform the Park district development.
Local Arts
Spartan Village’s housing development is suppose to be a place where people can gather and connect with those on and off campus. The plans called for a garden, a parking lot and lots of open space amongst other things. I think it is imperative to utilize this space the best way possible and give it purpose. You can do so by holding local festivals and performances. The people from the community from craft groups, organizations on campus and just locals would help put on these large gatherings. “Today a performance tent is located at one end of the square in which weddings, holiday performances, and fashion shows are held, and there are several different types of markets around the park’s perimeter. The park is functioning as a successful central square for the people of San Bernardino.” (Creating Great Urban Parks. Kent & Madden.)
A new art park?
With the recent demolish that has taken place on Grand River and Abbot there has been a lot of room for ideas. Something inclusive, community-driven and flexible to meet the needs of all that want to inhabit the space. An art park I think would be perfect to reflect the diversity of Lansing by bringing culture through the art and having somewhere to just socialize. The art park would have benches, grass, flowers and empty wall space for murals to be painted. It would be flexible for all ages and types of people; A true place for visionaries. That’s why the community should be working alongside lawmakers and developers to design this space with their input. Filling in the giant holes, placing at least one cemented wall up and allowing the community to share ideas like in New York with the East River Blueway. “ All parties involved in the planning process, including local government, nonprofit, neighborhood, and recreation groups, put in extra effort to implement another best practice in human-centered design—designing for both mainstream and extreme users. In the case of this project and many others that involve extensive public hearings and community meetings,” (Innovating the Planning Process Through Community-Centered Design. O’Malley & Watkins. 2015) Implementing their ideas into an art park rich with culture.
Through art the community can bond over space or spaces filled with culture and historical reference to help reflect those living among us. This would be done by taking advantage of part of the 10-arces devoted to the new Spartan villages to host events; Events like art shows, live performances, etc where people come together. Turning the Park District development into an art park could also see great results. Allowing those from the community to make it their own overtime. All and all, I have a lot of hope in my improvements that they will better the Lansing area and bring the people together.

An example of this principle at work: