Since Charlottesville Tomorrow’s April event on placemaking, I have been asked about the connection between our community narrative and tourism

I asked the question of our speaker, Katherine Loflin, who wrote me back today with her own article on the issue.  She notes:

“I’m often asked if tourism and placemaking can really coexist in a place….Indeed tourism is ALL about a sense of place. People can get generic attractions in a lot of places so the question becomes why would they come to your place to vacation OR is building all those features just happening at the expense of place?”

“If you know your narrative, capitalize on it through the physical landscape and culture of the place and communicate that effectively and broadly, you inherently become a more interesting place to visit in today’s market….Just as your narrative is the basis from which all good placemaking ideas come, not seeing the connection between tourism and place will be a critical flaw from which all bad ideas will come.”

In April, Loflin presented to this community the findings from the Knight Foundation’s Soul of the Community project on how attachment to place drives a community’s economic vitality – and how understanding those attachments can direct the ways in which we as a community choose to change and grow.

The top-4 attachment factors ( full study ) :

Then today I received a press release from the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau asking for the community’s input on a branding survey

Here is an opportunity for the community to share their opinion and to build on a community narrative that helps protect and build upon the distinctive character of this special place.

From the release:

“Let’s face it, we are no longer solely a historic destination. With so much more to offer now in terms of great food, amazing wines, the arts and music, it is time to dust off the current brand and propose a refreshed identity, which conveys a renewed sense of energy and excitement,” says Kurt Burkhart, executive director for the CACVB.

Participants can complete the survey no later than Tuesday, July 31 by visiting the CACVB’s web site at .