We are excited to announce that we now have a statement of our beliefs on our website, and we thought we'd give you a peek inside our process. It was truly a soul boosting, brain taxing, noisy, messy process.
It started with a desire to inform our numerous and diverse partners and collaborators of our guiding principles. The work began in what we call the Idea Space. I'm the new kid on our team of three, and when I first arrived I was amused that my colleagues thought so carefully about office design. My colleagues, I should mention, are Leonardo "Leo" Vazquez, AICP/PP, (a planner for those of you not familiar with the alphabet soup designation) and Thomas Young, who holds a masters degree in landscape architecture. My master's degree is in journalism, so I found myself shrugging in apathy any time they requested my consent to rearrange my workspace.
Anyway, the Idea Space is a tiny room in our Union, NJ office with white walls, white boards, post-it notes, dry-erase markers and a small dining room table. Our brainstorming session began with the three of us writing words with dry erase markers. We then analyzed every word. Was it a noun, verb, or adjective? How many connotations does it have? Is it the best word?
Then we organized the words into categories, which we debated as well. We settled on "process," "educational experiences" and a "vision" of how the field should be practiced. Leo is a pioneer in the field and the founder of our organization. In addition, he is director of the Certificate in Creative Placemaking program in partnership with the New Hampshire Institute of Art. Thomas and I are students, employees and practicing artists. As students, we read white papers, textbooks and scholarly articles. We discuss these works with each other and classmates, and we've just finished presenting a national summit on creative placemaking. In short, we're steeped in thinking, practicing and writing about the craft.
Our conversations go deep, and we find ourselves contemplating what makes us fundamentally human, what it means to include voices and stories from the margins and why that is so important. We hope these statements will guide us always in our work, and we hope you find them useful as well. Use them however you wish. Read them. Share them as prompts for discussion. Dissect them. Challenge them. We value an evolving, iterative process, so we intend to get you--our readers, clients, partners and sponsors--thinking as well.
Yours in Creative Placemaking,
The NCCP Team