The recent success of remote work and social distancing shows us we can viably spread out a bit further. With the increasing stress and messiness of dealing with people, and so many of our public places no longer tolerable, it's time to rethink how we can connect with, and in, space - outer space.
We had hoped that placemaking would have made our planet work for people by now. Instead of placemaking going mainstream to save our planet for people, “degenerative placetaking” and “disingenuous placefaking” are dominating our lands.
Let’s face it, the NIMBYs(Not In My Back Yard) have won on Earth, and many people are going BANANAS(Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone).
After some navel gazing and star gazing, we’re thrilled to be starting an accelerator for people already living life in the fast lane (only for those that surely won’t lose their minds). Leaving behind the wisdom of placemaking leaders here on Earth, PlacemakingMars will be able to create the frictionless future not possible on our home planet, unencumbered by people and without having to worry about displacement and gentrification.
It was Houston that had the bigger problem after all - a traffic problem. The transportation and suburban growth ponzi scheme needs a new frontier to maintain its success. Though the traffic and parking projections for the Martian paradise we’re planning are already very high, from the induced demand of great places and the Boring tunnels we’re building, we're sure the extra space will relieve congestion. We also can mitigate the impact on traffic by raising public spaces into a contiguous highline that will connect via a portal at the end of the NYC’s High Line from The Shed at spacious and underused Hudson Yards.
We will also be working with our sister program The Social Life Project who have big plans for martian spacemaking. An initial site visit was led by our newest placemaking network, PlacemakingMars, formed from our PlacemakingUS and PlacemakingFL networks. Having just finished a placemaking tour of Florida, and being tired of being stuck in traffic, they have decided to give up on it and launch straight from Cape Canaveral.
Given that most of the traffic may soon be drawn to Mars, and that there is a small chance we can’t make this utopian placemaking paradise work on the Red Planet (especially after watching the move Settlers), we are also starting a new joint program called PlaceX back here on Earth to try to make this trashed planet work for, and by, the people left behind.
PlaceX will reverse the downward spiral of place extraction on Earth by removing parking and travel lanes and filling the boring tunnels with cars that no longer fit in cities. Transit and car sharing of autonomous vehicles that don’t need to park near pedestrian rich destinations will take over the streets. The ponzi scheme will be reversed by regenerative placemaking that returns energy and value back to place and the planet from which it derived.
Placemakers will finally be discovered as the most powerful humans on earth when they defeat traffic, by exporting it to Mars, and replace it with great places, through the ultimate boss battle.
This post builds on a long history of April 1st aspirations from placemakers incubating the placemaking movement at Project for Public Spaces.