The adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words" can best be applied to convey many complex ideas within the planning process. A single image can be more powerful placemaking tool than simply a verbal description. Applying this adage to the planning process is a tool that builds consensus on the character of a place.
The Rio Community Redevelopment Plan outlines several overarching goals related to the creation of a vibrant, livable community with a strong sense of place. This includes an emphasis on local placemaking and image creation with an emphasis on quality of life and sense of neighborhood along the CR-707 corridor. This vision was developed and adopted through the traditional charrette process, and was the basis for the creation of a redevelopment overlay.
Residents of Rio petitioned Community Development staff for assistance in establishing a plan that would build on the roadway improvements within the entire CR-707 corridor. This 10-year vision to implementation of the main thoroughfare in the community, inspired a renewed vision as to what Rio could be. The community had new residents with a brighter vision for the future, and they needed assistance to memorialize consensus for this vision.
Through a series of public workshops with the assistance of a professional Illustrator, I assisted residents to brainstorm depictions of Rio’s heritage, formulated themes, drafted accompanying visuals, and set out locations for an array of elements to be interspersed throughout the corridor. This process did not utilize orthographic plans to lay out streets and buildings. The design team talked and listened to residents and developed 3-dimensional renderings reflective of the future character of Rio. Residents were provided the opportunity to experience the vision of their community through an image.
This public engagement process and the accompanying illustrations have been synthesized into the Rio Creative Placemaking Plan component proposed for official adoption into the Rio Redevelopment Plan. The plan is currently being used to support several Arts and Public Places projects, and influence Martin County Capital Improvement Projects.