Every great destination starts with a clear vision for the place they will design. And every great project is the result of someone's ability to articulate their design vision to the team that draws up the plans and the construction companies that eventually will build the place. I recently was asked in a big selection committee interview "how will you make this place a destination?" And I have to be honest, I was tongue-tied. If you know me, I am not usually caught with a loss for words. Nevertheless, I stumbled. I answered the question as if it was a general question about designing destinations and the physical, psychological, and experiential underpinnings that guide a designer of a destination.
In the split second before answering the question, my thoughts raced through all of my research on place identity and branding, environmental psychology, and a recent article I e-published on how to design a memorable place. What came out in my answer was, in retrospect, not what the selection committee wanted to hear. I think they wanted to hear (and visualize in their minds'-eye) a vision for how to make the place we were discussing... their place, a destination.
While I had a great vision for the project, no - an awesome vision for an awesome place, I did not push the vision out to be seen by the selection committee. Now I am kicking myself. The other part of this situation is that destinations have to be genuine in relation to their location, so I don't know when this opportunity will arise again. I assure you that if the opportunity does arise again, the cat won't get my tongue. And, from now on, I will always approach projects with a clearly articulated vision as a starting point, using community engagement to test and improve upon the vision, or change it if needed.