WDDC offers free workshop to discuss Wichita’s revitalization

Peter Kageyama, author of “For the Love of Cities,” will present a free interactive workshop next month in Wichita, part of the Wichita Downtown Development Corp.’s spring lecture series.

Kageyama’s three-hour workshop begins at 3 p.m. April 17 at the Wichita Boathouse, 515 S. Wichita. There are 200 spots available; reservations are required. E-mail or call 316-264-6005.

Kageyama, co-founder and producer of the Creative Cities Summit, will focus on local-based solutions that don’t require significant resources but can be quickly implemented, said Jeff Fluhr, president of the WDDC.

Downtown redevelopment efforts lose momentum if residents lose touch with the project, Kageyama said. His job is to show Wichitans easy ways to engage the revitalization effort.

“Right now, Wichita has gone through this master planning process,” he said. “People kind of lose interest. Development takes a long time, and we just want to live in the great picture produced by the early planning meetings.

“So the goal of the workshop is trying to give the citizens there a sense of ownership, a sense they have control over making their city a great city, more control then they tend to think.”

Kageyama tries to capture grassroots support for downtown revitalization.

“We’re going to show your people other examples around the country of citizen-led efforts without a lot of money, expertise and in some cases permission,” he said. “These efforts have made their communities more interesting, loveable places to live. We don’t have citizens building bridges and buildings, but we start little projects with a strong short-term impact. The trick is people lose interest when the momentum slows. Buildings go up slow. People need to see a difference in the short term.”

Kageyama’s book, “For the Love of Cities,” looks at what makes cities lovable, what motivates residents to do extraordinary things for their places. Kageyama’s expertise is in the areas of local community development, talent attraction and retention and creative industries development.

The workshop is held in partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. A fall event also is planned, Fluhr said.