Thursday, September 24, 2015
2:15 pm - 3:45 pm

CT Convention Center
100 Columbus Boulevard
Hartford, CT
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Form Follows Fun: How planners can enable vibrant communities that people love.

How do people use public spaces? What makes a place special and unique? What does the community want? Four communities – a small-town main street district, a mid-sized suburb with a booming town center, a vibrant urban downtown, and a major metropolis – described the different ways they’re responding to the needs and desires of their communities during this popular session of the 2015 SNEAPA Conference.

Panel of Speakers
Delpha Very – Director of Economic & Community Development, Town of Putnam, CT
Mark K. McGovern – Director of Community Services, Town of West Hartford, CT
Chris Ortwein – Manager, Retail Sq. Ft., Town Green District, New Haven, CT
Stephen R. Gilman – Program Director, Boston Main Streets, Dept. of Neighborhood Development
Moderated by David V. Sousa, AICP, RLA – Senior Planner and Landscape Architect, CDM Smith and Vice Chair of the CMSC Board of Directors.

Following the premise that by first creating engaging places people want to spend time in, economic development will naturally follow, Putnam is working with its community to set itself apart as an arts & culture hub. In West Hartford, responding to demand means changing zoning twice in two years to create the mixed-use development people want, while in New Haven, they’re using low-cost programming and place-making to observe how people use a space, then applying that information to influence future development. Tying it all together is the country’s first city-wide Main Street program in Boston, who utilizes its position within the City Department of Neighborhood Services to promote and educate local merchants on how to take advantage of this market.

Join the conversation!  Submit your ideas for engaging residents and visitors with creative placemaking by emailing us at

Click here to view the handout from this event.
Click here to view the panel presentation from this event.