I recently read an article from Streetsense titled The Future of Retail is Fluid. For context, Streetsense is self-described as a “global creative collective of placeshapers, brandbuilders and storytellers.” The theme of their latest article was how technology has allowed spaces to become more multifunctional than ever before. Because of these tiny powerful computers we all hold in our hands, we no longer ONLY go to a coffee shop to get a caffeinated beverage, but to work, shop, or game. Technology has given us the flexibility of working from/connecting with almost anyone, anywhere. So, that has further enabled human choice—we all prefer to inhabit quality designed spaces.
‘With this newfound fluidity comes an even stronger importance of quality of place. As spaces become more versatile in the purpose they serve throughout someone’s day, individuals will spend longer amounts of time in a given place. As such, creating quality feeling environments is the utmost importance, now more than ever…’
Thinking more broadly of the term ‘place’, downtown Freeport is a place that has recently seen a significant investment. The Chicago Avenue Streetscape Project is nearing completion and the transformation is remarkable. While necessary underground infrastructure has been updated and replaced, the public space (from building front to building front) was reconstructed in a more pedestrian-friendly manner, including bike infrastructure all while NOT compromising on-street parking. Final furnishing will not be installed until the spring, but the pictures are telling. This investment raises the bar on quality in the downtown and further promotes Freeport being a destination of choice.
Andrea Schultz Winter is the Development Director for the Greater Freeport Partnership and facilitates the Design & Placemaking Committee. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-233-1354.
Figure 1: Chicago Avenue looking south. Orange cones temporarily marking location of future light poles and trees.
Figure 2: Chicago Avenue looking north. New sidewalks with stamped concrete detailing and roadway with on-street parking and bike lane.