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Arthur Placemaking & PatriotismSabra Tull Meyer, "Corps of Discovery Monument”, Missouri State Capitol
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Meaningful placemaking grows out of a strong sense of connectedness to the geography of Missouri life. Our towns and regions remain the focal points for most of our everyday lives despite globalization, as I have discovered through my community design projects first with the Minnesota Design Team and here in Missouri communities through the Governor’s DREAM Initiative. Most people in the communities I have worked with want good places that support rather than fragment their lives, places that balance economics with nature and a strong sense of community.
In his classic book Sand County Almanac, ecologist Aldo Leopold argued that there has to be
“some force behind conservation more than universal profit, less awkward than government, less ephemeral than sport, something that reaches into all time and places where [people] live on land, something that brackets everything from rivers to raindrops, from whales to humming birds, from land estates to window boxes. I can only see one such force: a respect for land as an organism; a voluntary decency in land use exercised by every citizen and every landowner out of a sense of love for and obligation to that great biota we call America.” (pp. C19-C20)
Placemaking (aka community design) is the force that Aldo Leopold so eloquently describes. In psychologist Winifred Gallagher's (1993) words, "We must put the principles emerging from the multidisciplinary science of places into practice on local and global levels" (p. 19). At an even deeper level, patriotism itself (from the Latin patria, love of the land) ultimately depends upon making places that citizens connect to and care for with passion. Despite the tidal waves of global restructuring that are rapidly occurring, our communities and regions represent the stage settings where most of us experience and enjoy Missouri life. It’s a matter of national security.