Peter Kageyama is fascinated by cities - not just the tall buildings or park systems, the innovative modes of transportation, nor the architecture. Kageyama is fascinated by the interconnectedness of cities - the things that lie in between - the things that connect people to their cities. This fascination propelled Kageyama to head a local movement, Creative Tampa Bay, and to build a Creative Cities Summit. He won national acclaim as a thought leader in urban planning, development, and design with his first book, "For The Love of Cities: A Love Affair Between People And Their Places", and its follow-up was "Love Where You Live: Creating Emotionally Engaging Places." Kageyama is now looking forward to the release of his third book in 2019.
Years in St. Pete
Organizations involved in
Actually, sadly, I’m not involved in that many organizations any more. I used to be very present on a lot of different boards but the nature of my work has changed the last few years. I’ve found that I am a terrible, terrible board member and organization member because of the nature of my travels, which is very unpredictable. Consequently, I found that I was missing a lot. I used to be on the board at thestudio@620, but I kept missing more and more of that. I’ve kind of retreated from that and am more just a passionate observer of what transpires here.
What gets you out of bed every day?
My dogs. Certainly, that will get you out of bed. Really, though, looking for the next good story. What I do is travel around and talk to other communities – I tell stories. I’m always looking for the next story that’s going to make me go, “Wow, that’s cool” and how I might relate that to another community to help them with a problem that they’re having.
Why St. Pete?
That’s an interesting question – why any place? We usually end up in places for reasons that are generally sort of out of our control. We get a job there, go to school there, follow a significant other, something like that. That was how I ended up in St. Pete. I was down here for a gap year between my undergrad and law school and I met someone. I went to Ohio for law school and maintained a long distance relationship that eventually brought me back down here. For a while it was momentum, and after a while it became “I very much love this city.”
What is one habit that you keep?
I do love our coffee shops – from Kahwa to Station House and some of the others up and down Central Avenue. I like to work in coffee shops. I can’t work at home. When I’m at home and I am working, I’m usually doing something, even if it’s just reading something or responding to emails. I go to work in our coffee shops. We have a great coffee culture here.
Who are some people that influence you?
My mentor is an Englishman by the name of Charles Landry. His most famous book is called “The Creative City.” Charles is this vivacious eater of life. He travels around the world and he tells stories, so he has very much been an influence upon me. There are some other academic influencers – Richard Florida, Jeff Speck. Both of them are friends and I consider their work inspiring to me.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
Here’s the biggest thing I’ve learned in working with cities and communities over the last few years: start small. Most people, most organizations, and most cities have big ideas and big hopes. That’s great. But when they choose to actually start something, they usually start way too big. They start at a level where it’s going to cost a lot of time and a lot of money and they’re going to run headlong into all of the challenges that come with that. The advice that I give to people whenever they’re trying to do something new, trying to change their community, trying to change their life, is to start small.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
I wish I knew how much more my personal journey was deeply entwined with my work journey, my journey with cities. I am the “City-Love” guy, that’s sort of how I’m known. What I’ve learned in the last year is that you’re not just the “City-Love” guy. If you’re doing this, it has to just be about love. Period. I would have changed that approach and taken the city off of that and recognized that love is love. We love people, we love places, we love all kinds of things. The distinction at the end is not nearly as important as the idea at the beginning.
I wish I knew. But that’s a facetious answer – I’ve got a new book that’s going to come out in 2019, so that’s certainly “what’s next,” but beyond that the nature of my work and my travels makes me always prepared to be amazed. Whatever is next is amazing.