This was the first question posed by Dr. Katherine Loflin at the recent Cape Fear Community Land Trust luncheon and a question, as she explained, which is vital to the success of all communities. Dr. Loflin, a nationally recognized expert on placemaking and a North Carolina native, spoke about the role of high-quality places in keeping and attracting residents and businesses. Increasingly, people are putting place first when considering where to live, work, and play: they want to
be somewhere that is welcoming, that has many things to do, and where they feel like they can become part of the community. In other words, they want to live in a great place. Businesses have realized this and are expanding into the places where their future employees will want to be.
Dr. Loflin recommends that cities and towns think of their citizens as their most important tourists. These residents are already here, and it is important to encourage them to love the area and, ultimately, to stay. A truly great place will be valued by its residents, as well as by tourists and businesses, and will have a stronger economy as a result.
Placemaking, however, is not just a project, it is a philosophy, Dr. Loflin said. As change happens, successful communities must continue to improve and adapt to the needs of their citizens. This is a point on which Dr. Loflin, the Cape Fear Community Land Trust, and FOCUS all agree.
You can learn more about the Cape Fear Community Land Trust at http://www.foreverplaces.org/