First Forty Feet’s Manifesto Outlines Placemaking as a Value Proposition.

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Developers and architects are leaving millions of dollars of real estate value on the table through unrealized potential in places they create. We see this every day; architects are so focused on architecture and program that they can’t see the forest for the trees. .

We must learn to see the bigger picture; the hidden value lives outside the confines of the property, hiding within a community vision, the character and history of the neighborhood, the pace of public life, and the insights from the users. When we prioritize people in the design process, the result creates places where people truly want to be.

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Our studio has developed a Place Visions Manifesto that outlines an approach to creating places that have lasting value. These ten directives guide our design process and allow our team and clients to discover what is special about each project.

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Capturing unrealized value is the hallmark of our design studio. Urban designers and place strategists are those who focus on the spaces in-between, prioritizing experience over a singular architectural gesture. First Forty Feet sees placemaking strategies as a value proposition by having reverence for history, celebrating culture, responding to community sentiment and city goals, and by knowing that it’s the people who make great places. 

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Our favorite manifesto directive is to 'enlist the people'. Many places that you remember and love are curated by people who are invested in building the community and take ownership of the place. Many of the elements we adore in the city come in the form of public art, creative tenant signage, window displays, or the ten items of personal flair. We must leave room for people to contribute in creative ways.

WHAT IS REAL?

uncover what is hidden through mapping, observation, conversation, and data design

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MAGNIFY RESOURCES

showcase cultural and geographical gems

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ENLIST THE PEOPLE

recognize the importance of community actions

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DESIGN TO THE MARGINS

intentionally make space for marginalized communities

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KILL BAD HABITS

change behavior, save the planet, be climate positive

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THINK BIG

have a vision, plan with optimism, now is not the time to be timid

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HAPPY PEOPLE, HAPPY PLACES

support diverse life choices of all generations

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CREATE A SPECTACLE

design a space that is joyful, extraordinary, and memorable

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ANTICIPATE EVERYTHING

design the interim, think long-term, predict the future

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ZOOM OUT

adopt an expansive view, look beyond