Missoula Piazza, a citizen effort to create more pedestrian space in the heart of downtown, is calling for performers for their Piazza demonstration on 9/11/11 on E. Pine Street. Building on the success of the last Piazza demo this past June, Missoula Piazza is adding a performance section to the plaza.
Last June, as part of Sunday Streets, Missoula Piazza set up a live pedestrian plaza on the block of E. Pine Street just east of Higgins Ave. The plaza, known as a piazza in Italy, included café tables, chairs, colorful umbrellas, clay paving stones, free iced tea and a giant chess board in the middle of the street. The next piazza event, again as part of Sunday Streets, will have a similar feel except with more vegetation and the addition of performers. We are looking for acoustic musicians, choirs, poets, dancers, art displays, street theater and anything else that fits the theme of community and pedestrian oriented public space.
“The piazza this past summer was very successful in providing a place for people as opposed to a place for cars,” said Bob Giordano, Director of the Missoula Institute for Sustainable Transportation, the organization spear heading the demonstration. “We had great feedback on the want and need for places for people to congregate, converse and relax, especially in a downtown setting,” said Giordano.
Throughout the world, pedestrian plazas are deemed essential for livability and are often the heart of a community, whether a village or big city. Less common in the United States, pedestrian plazas, or piazzas, can be a key in enhancing social and economic activity in an environmentally friendly way. Missoula’s downtown master plan calls for more pedestrian space and this effort hopes to build on that process with a tangible project.
Tim Skufca, a volunteer in the Piazza working group said, “Whatever it’s called, piazza, plaza, square, zocalo ..... they are places that remain memorable in the experiences of urban centers. They embrace what makes urban living special: human interaction. Missoula does a pretty good job with Caras Park, but that’s a “park”, not a piazza”.
Katie Mikelsons, another volunteer working with the project, added, “This is exactly what Missoula needs and I'd love to see something similar to the piazzas of Italy duplicated in this community. A piazza is the nucleus of a city. It draws people together and creates its own special ambiance where young and old gather night and day to hang out, people watch, catch a random show by street performers, eat an ice cream, sip a cappuccino... For a town that is so community-based I think a permanent piazza would flourish here."
If you would like to be involved, have a performance group, can provide plants and trees, or have feedback on the idea of a Missoula Piazza somewhere in the downtown area, please contact Bob Giordano at 406-880-6834 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
For a diagram of the E.Pine demo, and more on piazzas, see: