Community A-venue

Posted: August 5, 2016

Are your community streets places, or simply transportation corridors? Are they spaces to love? Spaces for entertainment and enrichment? Spaces for commerce?
Better Block events are one example of Placemaking.  Learn more --

Better Block events are one example of Placemaking. Learn more --

In thinking about these public spaces that are connecting "your" place with other places -- is that stretch of land simply a transportation conduit, or is it a complex place in and of itself?

"Everywhere you go, there you are."

Perhaps the answer is more a matter of how  you are traveling, and possibly when these routes are traveled (in what time period?).

Consider this author's historical analysis and his assessment --

TEDx1000Lakes - Chuck Marohn - The important difference between a road and a street   --

In describing the difference between a road and street, Mr. Marohn gets a person to thinking about the "street" in ever more nuanced terms. 

And how should we think about "avenues?"

noun: venue; plural noun: venues
the place where something happens, especially an organized event such as a concert, conference, or sports event.
"the river could soon be the venue for a powerboat world championship event"
late 16th century (denoting a thrust or bout in fencing; also in the Law sense): from Old French, literally ‘a coming,’ feminine past participle of venir ‘come,’ from Latin venire."


What about "alleys?"

Once our travel corridors enter urban settings, how we label them becomes ever more complicated, and perhaps, really important.  In fact, in community planning and development professional disciplines, those that identify as New Urbanists are making a strong case that streets are best thought of as places. See

A few quick internet searches demonstrate just how deep a dive into complexity this line of thinking can become --




And the list of synergistic organizations and practices exploring the concept of "streets as places" is long and becoming longer daily.

How your community identifies and uses its public spaces is your choice, and it’s a choice that you and your fellow community citizens choose when selecting your community leaders.

In most cases, how public spaces are utilized and function is based upon what is allowed by your community’s federal, state, county, and municipal codes, and by the community’s vision for its future.

What do you choose?

Contact Information

John Turack
  • Extension Assistant, Community & Economic Development
Phone: 724-837-1402