American Planning Association Loves Ghent – Norfolk, VA

American Planning Association Loves Ghent – Norfolk, VA


WELCOME BACK TO NORFOLK
PERSPECTIVES. WHEN YOU THINK OF PLANNING, IS
IT GET TO THE NEXT PARTY, IS IT HOW YOUR DAY IS GOING TO GO, IS
IT SHORT-TERM, LONG-TERM? I GOT JUST THE GUY YOU WANT TO
INVITE TO YOUR PARTY TO FIND OUT IF IT’S LONG-TERM OR SHORT-TERM.
GEORGE HOMEWOOD, DIRECTOR OF PLANNING.
HOW YOU DOING?>>I’M GREAT.
THANK FOR HAVING ME.>>Bob: ARE YOU A GOOD STRAENT
PLANNER? CAN YOU PLAN A GOOD PARTY?
>>PLANNING IS IN SOME WAY ORGANIZING ONE’S THOUGHTS AND
ORGANIZING A PROCESS AND PROCEDURE, SO I CAN PROBABLY
PLAN A PRETTY GOOD PARTY.>>Bob: WHAT DOES A PLANNING
DIRECTOR DO FOR A CITY?>>QUINTESSENTIALLY, THEY TRY TO
HELP A COMMUNITY, THE CITIZENS OF THE COMMUNITY FIND THEIR
VISION, AND ONCE THE VISION IS FOUND, TO WRITE IT DOWN AND THEN
MOVE TOWARDS EXECUTION AND IMPLEMENTATION.
>>Bob: THE MAYOR FOR ABOUT 24 YEARS HAS BEEN — HAS ALWAYS
SAID THAT THE CITY OF NORFOLK IS A CITY THAT PLANS AND —
>>WE IMPLEMENT AND EXECUTE OUR PLANS.
>>Bob: THERE WE GO, BECAUSE THERE’S PEOPLE THAT HAVE DREAMS
GALORE, BUT THEY NEVER COME ALIVE.
>>MANY COMMUNITIES, THEIR PLANS SIT ON A SHELF AND GATHER DUST.
THAT’S NOT THE CASE FOR NORFOLK.>>Bob: OKAY.
THE AMERICAN PLANNING ASSOCIATION —
>>AMERICAN PLANNING.>>Bob: BIGGER THAN US, RIGHT?
>>IT’S INTERNATIONAL, MOSTLY FOCUSED IN THE U.S. WHERE MOST
OF THE MEMBERS ARE, BUT IT COVERS ALL 50 STATES AND I THINK
AT LAST COUNT, 37 COUNTRIES INTERNATIONALLY, AND INCLUDES
PROFESSIONAL PLANNERS, CITIZEN PLANNERS LIKE PLANNING
COMMISSIONERS, AND THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN PLANNING, AND WHEN
WE TALK ABOUT PLANNING, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT COMMUNITY
PLANNING. LAND USE PLANNING AND THAT
VISIONING TYPE OF THING THAT WE PLANNERS DO.
>>Bob: WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO DO WITH OUR LIFE?
>>WHAT DO WHO HAVE TO DO WITH OUR LIFE?
>>Bob: APS.>>NOTHING.
THEY SUPPORT LOCAL PLANNERS, THE PLANNING PROFESSION IN GENERAL.
THEY OFFER RESEARCH, THEY OFFER THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE THE
PROFESSION AND MOVE IT IN DIRECTIONS, BUT MOST
IMPORTANTLY, THEY OFFER THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE RECOGNIZED FOR
THE GOOD THINGS WE DO.>>Bob: NOW, LAST YEAR WE WERE
IN FREEMASON HANGING A PLAQUE.>>TWO YEARS AGO.
>>Bob: TWO YEARS AGO, HANGING A PLAQUE, AND THAT WAS FOR BEST
NEIGHBORHOOD?>>THAT’S RIGHT.
GREAT AMERICAN NEIGHBORHOODS.>>Bob: AND NOW A COUPLE OF
WEEKS AGO, WE GOT ANOTHER PLAQUE.
>>WE SURE DID.>>Bob: WHAT WAS THAT PLAQUE?
>>IT IS FOR COLLEY AVENUE IN GHENT AND THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT
THIS ONE, INSTEAD OF A BUNCH OF OLD —
>>Bob: NOW, BE NICE.>>A BUNCH OF OLD GUYS SITTING
ON A JURY MAKING DECISIONS, THIS WAS DONE ENTIRELY BY THE
CITIZENS OF NORFOLK AND OUR FRIENDS AROUND THE WORLD.
>>Bob: OKAY. GLOWING WORDS PUT INTO AN
APPLICATION THAT GOT US NOMINATED, RIGHT?
>>CORRECT.>>Bob: AND YOUR TEAM DID THAT.
>>WE DID, YES.>>Bob: BUT DID YOU EVER — I
HEARD A STATISTIC THE OTHER DAY. SOMETHING ABOUT MULTIPLIER OF
THE MOST VOTES EVER?>>YES, AND THE ENTHUSIASM —
THIS IS DONE AS A SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN, SO THE VOTES ARE CAST
THROUGH AN ONLINE WEBSITE AND THE COMMUNICATION IS DONE BY
TWITTER AND FACEBOOK, AND THE ENTHUSIASM FOR COLLEY AVENUE AND
THE ENTHUSIASM FOR THE CITY OF NORFOLK WAS INCREDIBLE.
IT’S THE BEST THAT THEY’VE EVER SEEN.
>>Bob: NOW, WE HAD OUR CRACK FIELD REPORTERS OUT THERE
COVERING THE BIG UNVEILING. YOU WANT TO SEE IT?
>>SURE.>>Bob: LET’S TAKE A PEEK AND
SEE WHAT HAPPENED.>>I AM JUST REALLY, REALLY
IMPRESSED THAT THE CITIZENS OF NORFOLK, THE RESIDENTS OF GHENT,
AND THE ENTIRE AREA RALLIED AND GOT THE VOTE IN JUST TO LET
COLLEY AVENUE BE SELECTED AS THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD FOR THE
GREAT AMERICAN PLACE IN 2015.>>YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO HIT MANY
EMAILS TO GET SOME PEOPLE THAT REALLY LOVE GHENT AND COLLEY
AVENUE.>>MY ONLY CRITERIA ON THIS IS
WHY IT TOOK APA AND NPR SO LONG TO FIGURE THIS OUT.
THIS IS A SECRET THAT WE HAVEN’T KEPT.
>>AS FAR AS BEING IN THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, IT MEANS A
LOT TO US TO BE RECOGNIZED AND I THINK IT WILL DRAW MORE PEOPLE
INTO OUR AREA. I LIVE AND WORK WITHIN THREE
BLOCKS OF HERE.>>IT’S A GREAT HONOR AND WE
HAVE 200 DIFFERENT BUSINESSES, PROPERTY OWNERS, PHILANTHROPISTS
AND ENTHUSIASTS IN GHENT THAT ARE PART OF THE ASSOCIATION AND
IT’S JUST A RECOGNITION OF SOMETHING WE KNOW IN OUR HEARTS,
THAT GHENT REALLY IS A GREAT PLACE TO BE, TO LIVE, WORK, AND
SHOP.>>TO BECOME THE HIPPEST PLACE
IN LRD BECAUSE OF ALL THE — HAMPTON ROADS BECAUSE OF ALL THE
LOCALLY OWNED BUSINESSES, THE GREAT LOCALLY OWNED
RESTAURANTED, AND THE THEATER AT HEART OF GHENT.
THAT’S WHAT DRAWS PEOPLE INTO THIS AREA.
IT’S WHY THERE’S SO MUCH ACTIVITY ON COLLEY AVENUE.
IT IS DEFINITELY A VERY COOL PLACE TO BE.
>>Bob: WOW. OKAY, 30, 40 YEARS AGO, COLLEY
AVENUE WAS KIND OF IN THE MIDDLE OF A TRANSITIONAL NEIGHBORHOOD
AND IT WASN’T GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
IS THAT WHEN PLANNING TOOK OVER?>>YOU KNOW, COLLEY AVENUE, IT’S
AN INTERESTING THING. VERY MUCH AN ORGANIC PROCESS IN
THAT IT GREW UP OUT OF SOME DESIRE OF CITIZENS AND PEOPLE.
PLANNING HELPED GET SOME OF THE RULES AND REGULATIONS OUT OF THE
WAY, BUT IT ALSO BROUGHT OTHER RULES AND REGULATIONS IN THAT
WOULD — THAT HELPED MAKE SURE THAT THINGS STAYED CLOSE TO THE
STREET AND THERE WAS THAT LIVELY STREET LIFE AND THE OPPORTUNITY
FOR OUTDOOR DINING AND THOSE KINDS OF THINGS.
>>Bob: BECAUSE I KNOW AFTER THE FACT REVIEW, THE ARMCHAIR
QUARTERBACKING, YOU CAN DRIVE DOWN A STREET AND SAY THIS JUST
DOESN’T LOOK RIGHT OR DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT.
COLLEY AVENUE FEELS RIGHT. I MEAN, YOU WANT TO HAVE DINNER
AND THEN GO GET SOME ICE CREAM AND STROLL.
>>SURE, IT’S AUTHENTIC.>>Bob: DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?
>>IN A WAY, IT DOES. IT IS AUTHENTIC IN EVERY WAY
THAT YOU CAN CONSIDER AUTHENTICITY.
YOU KNOW, TAKE A LOOK AT OTHER PLACES WHERE COMMUNITIES HAVE
ATTEMPTED TO RECREATE A COLLEY AVENUE OR RECREATE A DOWNTOWN OR
SOME SORT OF A TOWN CENTER, AND IT LOOKS LIKE DISNEYLAND.
IT IS A STAGE SET, IT’S NOT AN AUTHENTIC PLACE.
AND COLLEY AVENUE IS AN AUTHENTIC PLACE, LIKE DOWNTOWN,
LIKE 21st STREET, IT’S GOT, YOU KNOW — IT’S NOT PERFECT AND
THAT’S PART OF WHAT MAKES IT — GIVES IT ITS CHARM AND MAKES IT
A GREAT PLACE IN AMERICA.>>Bob: NOW, WE HAVE A CHANCE TO
DO THIS ALL OVER THE CITY NOW. THERE’S SOME — WHAT IS THE
PROCESS THAT SOMEBODY CAN GET INTO IF THEY WANT TO PROVIDE
SOME INPUT ABOUT THEIR HOMETOWN?>>YOU MEAN THROUGH THE GREAT
PLACES IN AMERICA CAMPAIGN?>>Bob: YES.
>>SURE. THERE’S TWO WAYS.
THERE’S THE FORMAL NOMINATION PROCESS WHICH COMMUNITIES DO AND
QUITE FRANKLY IT’S RUN THROUGH PLANNING OFFICES, AND WE HAVE
SUBMITTED SEVERAL NOMINATIONS OVER THE YEARS.
THEN THE SECOND IS THE — WHAT WE JUST DID FOR COLLEY AVENUE,
WHICH IS THE ONLINE, BUBBLE IT UP FROM DOWN AND THAT WAS WHAT
MADE THIS SUCH A COOL PROCESS FOR US.
>>Bob: WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A CHANCE TO DO IT AGAIN AND WE’RE
GOING TO DO IT.>>RIGHT, AND WEED REALLY LIKE
TO HEAR — WE’D REALLY LIKE TO HEAR FROM THE CITIZENS, WHAT’S
THE NEXT GREAT PLACE IN NORFOLK THAT WE SHOULD BE NOMINATING.
>>Bob: LET’S GO FOR IT. THANKS A LOT, GEORGE.
WHEN WE COME BACK, CRIME LINE NEEDS YOU.
STAY TUNED.

Author: Kevin Mason

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *