How Talent Drives Infrastructure Development and Place-making

Every chair was filled and there were attendees standing in the back of the room to gain some of the valuable insight shared at this breakout session moderated by Natalie Kostelni of the Philadelphia Business Journal and featuring panelists Ben Donsky, Biederman Redevelopment Group; Bob Geolas, HR&A; and George Smith, U3Advisors.

Key takeaways:

  • In order for a public place, interior or exterior, to be the most engaging, it needs to be authentic. Developers must listen to the community and address those needs and desires of those that do and will occupy the space.
  • Programming is essential and should be inspiring. Give people reasons to be there, such as community events, amenities, and resources that might not typically be available in their own homes or lives. Provide art, architecture, and amenities that foster emotional connections to the physical space.
  • It’s important to promote a space before it’s built to get people excited for it. This also often brings in organizations and foundations that may be eager to support the space in some way.

Audience Q & A

One session attendee asked how the consideration of parking when developing a space has changed in recent years. Panelists agreed that it’s not nearly as important for a consideration as it was 10 years ago, and one panelist emphasized that providing opportunities for cyclists is increasingly important.