Public Space Transformation in Light of COVID-19


As a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic, cities from San Francisco, California to West Palm Beach, Florida are revolutionizing how the public space surrounding businesses like restaurants can be transformed to accommodate rapidly shifting economic needs. As a result, communities are breathing life back into their districts and neighborhood centers with an array of approaches aimed at redesigning dining, shopping, and parking areas. We’ll speak with Ryan Smolar, the initiator of the PlacemakingUS network to learn more about how North American cities are shaping these opportunities and how they can be implemented in your community.

Duration: 1 hour 



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Ryan Smolar

Ryan Smolar
Placemaking US

As a consultant, Ryan Smolar has generated transformative ideas and approaches for municipal governments, business districts, transit authorities, visitor bureaus, shopping centers, and community interest groups. Smolar’s work helps build local economies and commercial districts, while expanding local networks and awakening sustainable community change.

Since 2016 Smolar has been called to support international collaboration and knowledge-sharing around place management and urban planning through professional practitioner networks in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and emerging ones in the Middle East and Africa.

In his role as the initiator and primary representative of the PlacemakingUS network, Smolar connects over 500 US-based practitioners to amass urban ingenuity in a wide array of fields from transportation planning to place management, community engagement, heritage and architecture preservation, economic vitality, sustainability, etc. Smolar has also been a contributing member to an international body of place managers through the International Downtown Association and his direct work in managing the central business district in Santa Ana, California (a city of 400,000 residents at the heart of a 3 million population county.)

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