• "Designing Better Places" video and website

    Why do many towns and cities seem to have split personalities? The older areas, built before World War II, feel inviting. It’s possible to walk safely, the buildings are interesting to look at, and there are places where you’d like to sit and visit. In contrast, the majority of places built in the past 60 years feel totally different. Newer commercial areas are often accessible only by vehicle, and when you’re not inside a building, lingering doesn’t seem appealing. The video Designing Better Places strives to answer why this is, how it happened, and what can be done to create more successful and inviting places that people and cars can share.  The website and video also discuss the principles of urban design, and the importance of creating walkable communities.  The video, along with three additional PowerPoint presentations, can be shown at community meetings or viewed individually.

    The site has been live since January of 2014, and since that time, people have anecdotally indicated that they plan to use the presentations to show other groups. Because the video on the site is run through YouTube, it is possible to know how many times the video has been viewed. So far, over 500 views have been recorded. For these purposes, the Designing Better Places website was sponsored by the NC Department of Commerce, so no extra costs were incurred to put up the website. Costs were incurred to create the presentation video, which involved a paid videographer to convert the pictures to video format and a paid voiceover professional. Maintenance of the site has not been a problem.  

 Lessons Learned using Primary Technique:

  • Websites


​All concepts are illustrated with photographs or drawings, in simple and clear language.  There are numerous illustrations from the Southeast as well as California and New York.


 Project Attributes

Project Primary Purpose
Accessibility Improvement, Aesthetic Improvement, Economic Development, Safety Improvement, Traffic Calming
Target Communities
Commercial/Retail, Established Neighborhood, New Neighborhoods, Rural, Suburban, Urban
Target Populations
Low-Income Populations, Persons with Disabilities, Seniors, Students/Youth
Long-range Planning

 Primary Technique

  • Websites

 Other Techniques used

  • 29;#Education Programs

 Contact Info

Virginia Faust, AICP
NC Division of Community Assistance
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