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In 1909, the “Burnham Plan” for Chicago was introduced to grade school children to promote the value of planning to the next generation of civic participants.

When I traveled to Copenhagen in 2016, an “Our Urban Living Room” exhibit series promoted city planning efforts in pop-ups and galleries all about City Center and Christianshavn. It offered experiences where residents and tourists alike could observe the ways the city was improving.

COBE Architects opened their doors for the Our Urban Living Room exhibit.

Immersive experiences like these reinforce that planning is a critical tool in shaping the future—and in ways beyond mere physical improvements. Planning is about connections and involvement, it’s about strengthening the social network. Recognizing that value, I was excited to learn about the Atlanta City Studio pop-up.

As an “urban design laboratory,” the Atlanta City Studio space is engaging people in a dialogue. It’s putting power in the hands of the public to shape planning efforts.

Long-form community engagement, if you will, is a labor intensive tactic for soliciting input. Yet, perhaps this “immersive public engagement” is efficient when looking at the net result overall. Perhaps the larger investment of time and resources pays off in the excitement it stirs and the ongoing opportunity it provides for brainstorming ideas.

Atlanta City Studio has already generated new project concepts, so I’d say there’s a good chance that could be the case. I’m interested to see how it evolves next.

Atlanta City Studio designers and visitors discuss a vision for multi-generational housing design in the Cascade Heights Commercial District during the studio’s Design Over Donuts event. (Photo courtesy Atlanta City Studio, via Next City.)
Photo courtesy Atlanta City Studio, via Next City.

This post was prompted after learning about the Atlanta City Studio in a recent Next City article. You can read the full article here:

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