What’s a Conscious Place?
Written by: John M.
At Trademark, we’re excited to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We’ve been working closely with Whole Foods to bring next-generation placemaking to our projects, which lets us demonstrate our purpose: to be extraordinary stewards, enhance communities, and enrich lives. We seek to build special places, that take into consideration the stakeholders not normally considered in development—that includes our employees, who are seeking purpose in their work, and the users of our projects, who are seeking more than just a place to shop. The result of all our work is the Conscious Place.
Our first project designed from the ground-up incorporating the principles of a Conscious Place, Waterside, will feature community spaces, free amenities, and eco-conscious features like rainwater reclamation and solar charging for electric cars and cell phones. All public aspects of the Conscious Place are free to the user with no requirement to shop or spend money at the surrounding retailers. The end results are feature-laden public spaces that are funded by the private sector, which stems from our belief in the core tenets of Conscious Capitalism.
“Our multi-person solar charging stations combine the low-tech benefit of a community table with the typically-commoditized opportunity to charge your phone or laptop,” Montesi says of the idea behind a WiFi-enabled, plugged-in outdoor area. We can’t force people to unplug, but we can encourage them to share a bench with a stranger and educate themselves about alternative energy. We also provide free chilled, filtered water to encourage the use of reusable water bottles. Friendly reminders and incentives help reinforce other sustainable habits like using reusable shopping bags. One of the goals of a Conscious Place is education and inspiration, and that extends beyond the director visitor benefits. Free solar energy and rainwater landscaping irrigation spark the imagination and start conversations about the ways we can rethink what’s possible. They also reduce the environmental impact of bringing great new places to the communities we build in, which is a demonstration of how we view the environment as one of our stakeholders. Conscious Places care about their neighbors whether they’re on-site or never visit.
Beyond the built environment, we aim to inspire through blank slates and curated sharing alike. Community message boards, free reservable meeting spaces, and organized events provide a space for public expression, while some of our favorite quotes offer wisdom and inspiration from others. Montesi believes that, “The information station is somewhat disruptive. It is being used to entertain as well as educate and inspire with content such as famous inspiring speeches and classic witticisms.” We gain wisdom from Martin Luther King Jr. and Yogi Berra alike, ultimately aiming to inspire and be inspired by the people who use our spaces. If we can share words that make us think and make us laugh, the Conscious Place becomes an idea that gets taken home when people leave, and that’s the hallmark of an impactful third place.
In the coming weeks, we’ll share more about the ways Conscious Places engage with their communities, from hiring local artists to use found objects for integral artistic and informational displays to the events that take place in the public spaces to the heritage oak trees we relocated. It is our hope that we can collaborate with members of every community to continue to refine what it means for a place to be conscious. Join the conversation and stay tuned for what’s next. We can’t wait to share it with you.