Place-making: The Results Are In

Which location would you target first if you wanted to make downtown Portsmouth a better place?

After hearing ideas and seeing illustrations by landscape architect Robert White , there was a clear audience preference at a PS21 event: the Vaughan Mall.

More than 70 people attended the presentation and discussion at the library Feb. 1. The vote tally (estimated by PS21) was:

  • Vaughan Mall ~50%
  • ‘Spring Hill Square’ (Hanover and Market streets) ~ 35%
  • State Street – 10%
  • Market Square ~ 5%

Vaughan Mall supporters cited the need to improve the pedestrian walkway and the ease and relatively low cost with which it might be done.

The Feb. 1 session was a follow-up to PS21’s fall workshop on “place-making.” Place-making is a philosophy and approach to creating better public spaces that focuses: uses and activities, access and linkages, sociability and comfort and image. From the workshop, ideas for the Vaughan Mall, ideas included

  • Add a children’s play area
  • Provide more seating and a variety of seating options
  • Add a water feature
  • Bring back the stage
  • Consider expanding into the Worth Parking Lot
  • Provide better wayfinding for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Offer better lighting
  • Vary walking surfaces and textures
  • Improve maintenance of facades and storefronts
  • Add more vegetation

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