Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Planning Manager Tim Kelly emails a weekly GR Forward update to the project Steering Committee. Here's this week's communication:
Good Afternoon All:
I hope you are finishing up a great week.
Work continues toward getting our project website up and running. This is going to be a great resource to not only share information, but to also collect input from a wide audience. The website will go live during the first week of June, and I will of course let you know as soon as it is up and running.
The first week of June will also be the public launch of the Plan. We will have a presence at both Movies in the Park on June 6 ( Raiders of the Lost Ark), and during Festival of the Arts on June 7. There will be opportunities for members of the Steering Committee and anyone else that is interested to help share information on the Plan and to solicit input from event goers. Look for more details on these opportunities soon.
This week I have two articles to share.
First, I found this article from the website FiveThirtyEight about the perceptions of safety in cities to be really interesting. http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/where-people-feel-safe-and-where-they-are-safe/. The author compares a survey conducted by Gallup against the FBI’s violent crime statistics for 167 metropolitan areas. Although people have a rough sense of the risk of crime they face in their communities, they often overstate how safe, or unsafe, they actually are.
Second is an article from the Washington Post about the value of preserving old buildings: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/05/15/an-economic-defense-of-old-buildings/
The article asserts that neighborhoods with older building stocks tend to have a greater mix of locally owned businesses, housing options, and overall foot traffic. As a result, these neighborhoods tend to perform better when ranked for “livable” amenities. Though it only examines three cities (San Francisco, Washington, and Seattle), and some of the correlations may be tenuous, it is one of the first attempts to use empirical data to show the value older buildings provide to cities.As always, if you have any questions let me know. Otherwise, have a great weekend.