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Be Builtfully Blog

What is Placemaking?

Placemaking is all about stories and how people can better understand the places they live, work, and play. It is a community-led design process to enhance the approach to planning. The community is truly at the front and center of creating a quality built environment for all.

It can be small to large scale from plazas to streets to blocks to cities. The place needs to be connected to the larger community to be holistic. The Project for Public Spaces graphic below shows how a place is transformed through accessibility, usability, and sociability.

Placemaking is how people use the space with activities, socialize, and feel safe and comfortable. These are all achieved through physical elements and design enhancements to bring people together.

Graphic Credit: Project for Public Spaces

Project for Public Spaces states placemaking "facilitates creative patterns of use, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution."

Placemaking can transform the energy of a space. It not only changes the perception but also how people use the space. Space holds stories with all the layers of history that have happened there. Placemaking shares those stories and also creates new ones.

Placemaking's goal is to create a vibrant, quality place for all. It looks at what people want in the area, the characteristics of that place, how to enhance the space, and attract and retain people.

PARK(ing) Day event for the Southwest Business Association, Minneapolis

Placemaking can take on various community-led creative forms such as pop-up markets, concerts, games, parklets (sidewalk extension for additional amenities), art installations, and more. Project for Public Spaces encourages "light, quick, cheap" when it comes to placemaking projects.

Check out their recommendations here and Builtfully's placemaking photography slideshow below for global placemaking inspirations.

Click Be Builtfully's Pinterest Pincode image below for placemaking images and ideas.

As my Graduate School Professor Matthew Carmona states in his blog in regards to engaging communities through placemaking, "Whichever approach is chosen, at the heart of all such initiatives is always (it seems) a creative individual or small group who provides the energy and drive to excite others and ultimately make things happen."

Therefore, we need to encourage the placemaking approach, listen to the community, and partner with creative individuals and groups to create beautifully built places. Doing so will encourage investment from businesses, residents, and visitors.

The Builtfully designed infographic below is resourced from various placemaking entities and experts. Experts can use these five aspects of placemaking to educate people to understand better what it is. Check out Builtfully's placemaking infographic and share it!

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