August 15, 2013

Thank Your Local Placemaker

An innovative idea for thanking those who make our neighborhoods great

Last night, I left a couple love notes for my city.

My love notes were in the form of a little green flag, with the simple message “This Place Matters” on the front. The Rapidian has created these flags for our citizens to place anywhere and everywhere that you see someone—an organization, a business or an individual—working to make our city a greater place to live. On the back of the flags are a space to write in why you think This Place Matters. The flags are on small bamboo skewers, perfect for situating visibly in a place that matters to its neighbors and its community.

Know of a business that makes sure they build a sense of community and take care of their employees and the environment? That place matters.

Know a neighborhood organization that draws your neighbors together in the local park? That place matters.

Have a neighbor who lets all the kids hang out in their back yard and makes sure they’re learning and growing in healthy ways? That place matters.

Placemaking can come in so many different forms, but if you ask me, it’s when the community is considered rather than just personal gain. When anyone puts effort into benefitting the health, safety, beauty or advancement of their neighborhood and/or physical community—that’s placemaking. That’s making our place grow and flourish. And these efforts, these places: they matter.

You can learn more about placemaking—what it is, who’s doing it and how to get involved—in a section of The Rapidian called “Place Matters”:

So let’s thank all our placemakers. Leave them a secret love note. Let the rest of the community know why the places around you matter.

This story is reprinted under a Creative Commons license from The Rapidian, a citizen journalism news source in Grand Rapids, Michigan.