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2010: Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy: Vision Hampton Roads - Sense of Place PDF Print E-mail

Task Force:  Sense of Place

Activities: 
Urban Land Institute, Hampton Roads Reality Check 2012
May 17, 2012

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Vision

 


The “Strategic Component” of the Plan of Action will address the long term strategy development for the enhancement of the big demographic, economic and environmental forces of: Sense of Place – special mix of distinctive communities, regional identity.

Sense of Place with specific focus on regional awareness:

“Sense of Place” for Hampton Roads will have to be defined in the coming months. The Brookings Institute’s Blueprint for American Prosperity talks about “Quality Places” as being one of the four big demographic, economic and environmental forces that shape a region. Vision Hampton Roads is using the term “Sense of Place” in an effort to capture not only the Brookings concept that “Sustainable places are those in which people have a variety of options in housing type, neighborhood type, and transportation modes,” but also to begin to address the awareness issue that was so prevalent in our Sub-committee discussions. Clearly, part of the region’s challenge will be to help people feel more connected to the region.

Part of our challenge in defining “Sense of Place” in Hampton Roads is the current lack of a common metropolitan consciousness, i.e., that our communities are interconnected. It is incumbent upon us to focus on ways to build interest, increase involvement and promote enthusiasm among our diverse population to sustain regional citizenship, much the same way we identify as sports fans and collectively support the “home team” by working together as citizens of a metropolitan economy to promote local and regional prosperity and quality of life.

Quality places represent a special mix of distinctive communities and responsible growth that is competitively wise, fiscally responsible and environmentally sustainable.

In his book, The New Geography, Joel Kotkin, noted scholar on urban development and a fellow at Chapman University and the New American Foundation (http://NewAmerica.net), says, “The oldest fundamentals of place – sense of community, identity, history and faith – not only remain important, they are increasingly the critical determinants of success and failure. As people and advanced industries hunt the globe for locations, they will not necessarily seek out those places that are the biggest, the cheapest, or the most well-favored by location. Instead, they will seek out a new kind of geography, one that appeals to their sense of values and to their hearts, and it is there that the successful communities of the digital age will be found.”

“People do not live together merely to be together,” wrote the Spanish Philosopher José Ortega y Gasset at the beginning of the 20th century. “They live together to do something together.” Whether in efforts to enhance education and skills that further innovation or the fostering of new enterprise or creating of new public infrastructure, healthy communities will be those that can develop a sense of common purpose within the regional “Sense of Place.”

Our work under “Sense of Place” will build upon previous efforts undertaken by the Hampton Roads Partnership specifically the Regional Citizenship work during the 2004 Call to Action. We intend to work with a number of organizations and groups to expand those efforts. We will first define then enhance this “Sense of Place” in Hampton Roads.

WHERE WE ARE.

When evaluating the best things about living in Hampton Roads, a wide range of attributes were noted involving our geography and environment as important, i.e., the scenic beauty, recreational and cultural activities but also a sense of community and regional identity.

However, when evaluating the biggest challenges to living in Hampton Roads, transportation was far and away the primary point of contention followed by job opportunities. Education was a distant third. Lack of regional spirit and cooperation as pertains to government were also noted in the write-in comments.

“We are not taking advantage of the potential we have in Hampton Roads as a region,” said one citizen during public comment. And more than one respondent asked “what is our region’s business identity?”


Sense of Place Objectives-Strategies-Actions

Identified by Federal Sub-committee:

Action 1:  Continue to enhance the current culture and movement that reinforces relationships with Hampton Roads communities and organizations in the region to work together on mutual goals in order to achieve public awareness and appreciation of the economic value of the Federal assets in the region to the Hampton Roads community, the Commonwealth and the Nation. (#9 Ranked Action)

Action 2:  Involve the international community (ports, international science, etc.) in order to achieve public awareness and appreciation of the economic value of the Federal assets in the region to the Hampton Roads community, the Commonwealth and the Nation.

Action 3:  Promote Hampton Roads as part of the global economy in order to achieve public awareness and appreciation of the economic value of the Federal assets in the region to the Hampton Roads community, the Commonwealth and the Nation.  

Identified by Port & Maritime Sub-committee:

Action 1:  Engage citizens in issues of importance to the Port and benefits to the region’s economic health to build public awareness in order to gain public support and appreciation of the economic value of the Port to the Hampton Roads region, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Nation.

 


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