Portola Valley: Residents asked to imagine Town Center's future


The Portola Valley Town Center, a pastoral 11.2-acre complex for sports and outdoor recreation, community get-togethers and civic activities of all kinds, is eight years old. What will it look like and who will be using it when it's 28?

Starting Monday, Aug. 22, and continuing through Tuesday, Sept. 20, Town Hall and a committee of residents are asking the community to contribute ideas to help create a framework for the evolution of the Town Center over the next 25 years.

The Town Center Master Plan Committee "seeks to create a unified Town Center Master Plan which will enhance the amenities and sense of place we already enjoy," the flier announcing the initiative says.

Click here to register and participate.

The key to the initiative, the town says, is place-making, or "collectively reimagining and reinventing public spaces to be the heart of the community," according to a description of the term by the nonprofit Project for Public Spaces.

The Project for Public Spaces, launched in 1975, drew its inspiration from William H. Whyte, an observer of urban life and the author of what has become a standard text for urban planning, "The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces," according to its website.

The website lists locations around the world that have used place-making techniques for waterfronts, public buildings, campuses and markets as well as parks -- perhaps the category that most closely fits Portola Valley's Town Center.

For inspiration in creating a great park, the project quotes the late, great New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra: "If the people don't want to come out to the park, nobody is going to stop'em."


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