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Collaboration, mixed-use, inclusivity: building blocks of the GoSite space

Placemaking occurs within the process of rethinking the traditional “information center” to engage a broader, 21st century audience.
External view of future GoSite space.

External view of future GoSite space. /Courtesy Grand Rapids Art Museum

Underwriting support from:

Mayor Heartwell and other community members help introduce the GoSite

View the collaborative video and learn more on our website.

Griff visits the future home of the GoSite to help with the introductory video.

Griff visits the future home of the GoSite to help with the introductory video. /Courtesy Lisa Radeck

Internal view of future GoSite space.

Internal view of future GoSite space. /Courtesy Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Creating an information-sharing space in the heart of Grand Rapids, with comprehensive content and interactive technology that allows for multiple access points, requires the efforts of numerous people and organizations sharing in the vision.

The GoSite space is located in the northwest corner of the Grand Rapids Art Museum at 101 Monroe Center, a 100+ year old cultural institution with a forward-looking vision of collaboration, where the arts play an important role in civic engagement and quality of life in West Michigan. Situated in the center of downtown, adjacent to the popular public park Maya Lin’s Ecliptic at Rosa Parks Circle, surrounded by residential, retail, academic campuses, offices, hotels and restaurants, other arts & cultural organizations and venues, unique neighborhoods and more, the GoSite is ideally positioned as the central gathering space for sharing information about living, working, playing and shopping in the Grand Rapids area.

The GoSite is currently in the strategic planning phase based on input from a series of community meetings and surveys earlier this year. A coalition of major stakeholders is in place to advise on development and implementation of the plan.  An Advisory Council meets monthly to discuss objectives and keep the project moving along, and an Inclusion Committee is forming to build a broader discussion to ensure the plan is welcoming all voices of the community to participate. Additional surveys and public forums for feedback are in the works.

When talking about the topic of placemaking, there is increasing interest in the idea of mixed-use buildings and areas.  A brief summary from Place Makers helps clarify the concept:

“In short, mixed-use makes for three-dimensional, pedestrian-oriented places that layer compatible land uses, public amenities and utilities together at various scales and intensities. This variety of uses allows for people to live, work, play and shop in one place, which then becomes a destination for people from other neighborhoods. As defined by The Lexicon of the New Urbanism, mixed-use is multiple functions within the same building or the same general area through superimposition or within the same area through adjacency… from which many of the benefits are… pedestrian activity and traffic capture.”

While the GoSite may not immediately come to mind with the term “mixed-use” - as often the first thing one thinks about is a building with retail at street level, office space in the next levels, with residential in the uppermost floors – the basic principles are embraced.

With coalition partners such as Experience Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. working together to help create the GoSite, available digital content about activities, attractions and information can converge in a welcoming physical space, utilizing the latest technology, social media and tools to access the information and contribute feedback in a comfortably designed public environment. Traditional items such as maps can also be available, as well as demonstrations and services geared toward highlighting the region’s diverse offerings. The space will be versatile and can continue to host community partners for special events.

Continuing the idea of mixed-use are the multiple functions the GoSite aims to serve. Gone are the silos of information created for specific audiences such as tourists, students, locals and businesses introducing the area to potential employees. All are welcome and encouraged to utilize the resources of the GoSite. While the information may be framed differently in some ways in order to create simple access points for different needs, there is a great amount of overlap in basic content. This opens up an interactive space where information can be shared among the different audiences with conversations, comments and suggestions.

For more information, and to view a collaborative video featuring Mayor Heartwell and other community members introducing the GoSite, visit our website.

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