GSA Renews Commitment to Enhancing Public Spaces

Sept. 20, 2007
The U.S. General Services Administration's new workbook guides GSA property managers on enhancing public spaces in federal buildings

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has published a new workbook to help guide GSA property managers on how to enhance public spaces in federal buildings.

"Federal buildings in many communities are the government's most prominent representative, a symbol of democracy," says David Winstead, commissioner for GSA's public buildings service. "It's important that these spaces are accessible to the public and that they convey a positive image of the federal government."

GSA produced "Achieving Great Federal Public Spaces - A Property Manager's Guide" in collaboration with the Project for Public Spaces. The workbook provides GSA property managers with a step-by-step process on how to enhance public spaces such as plazas, lobbies, atria, and grounds. It suggests short-, medium-, and long-term improvements - from actions as simple as reducing clutter and inviting civic organizations to use public spaces for activities and events to more elaborate measures such as buildings enhancements, including the streamlining of the security process in lobbies.

"When managed effectively, these spaces support neighborhood goals and play an important role in how our client agencies view their workplaces," comments Anthony Costa, deputy commissioner for public buildings. "It is in our collective interests that we make the most of our public spaces."

The centerpiece of the publication is the "Place Audit," a detailed, on-site evaluation exercise that property managers may complete with various stakeholders, including building tenants and members of the community. The audit reveals strengths and weaknesses, and offers solutions on how to maximize the use of a property's public spaces.

The workbook is based on the premise that GSA's buildings and public spaces should reflect the dignity and accessibility of government, be secure and welcoming, improve tenant satisfaction and building revenue, provide a forum for tenant activity and public use, and act as a catalyst for downtown revitalization.

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Founded in 1949, GSA serves as a centralized procurement and property management agency for the federal government. GSA manages more than one-fourth of the government's total procurement dollars and influences the management of $500 billion in federal assets, including 8,600 government-owned or -leased buildings and 208,000 vehicles.

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