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Project for Public Spaces initiative boosts global grassroots urban design

The New York-based non-profit wants to support international placemaking projects as urbanization picks up across the globe

The New-York based nonprofit Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is expanding its reach.To help make sure a rush towards urban living can potentially become a golden age for designing urban spaces around the globe, the PPS announced a new Commitment to Action to expand both nationally and internationally.

This new, 3-year commitment, to be announced during the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting today, will find the organization partnering with local community leaders and municipal governments to launch pilot projects with each partner organization in a handful of spaces by 2019. Partnerships will be announced over the next year on a rolling basis.

"Whether we’re talking about public health, economic diversity, social equity, or environmental resilience, place always matters, and it is crucial that we address the lack of access to quality public space that persists in cities across the globe" said PPS President and Founder Fred Kent in a statement.

As cities around the globe rush to prepare for a predicted period of rapid urbanization, it’s important that concerns about housing, economic growth, and transportation don’t crowd out concern for quality public spaces. The focus will be on "Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper" design projects, including adding low-cost amenities, converting streets into multi-use spaces, as well as adding art, markets, vending, and landscaping into existing public spaces. These short-term improvements will ideally lead to long-term investments and infrastructure upgrades.