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Placemaking: What is it?

Each year, our Annual Conference has a theme that inspires thought, conversation and action. This year, our theme is Creating Community - Placemaking. We are excited to share speaker sessions and a keynote address that dive into topics of placemaking, with the hope of teaching attendees new ideas and tools they can bring to their communities. 

Placemaking is "inspiring people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. Strengthening the connection between people and the places they share," according to  Project for Public Spaces (PPS). PPS talks about how placemaking facilitates the creative use of spaces that incorporate people of different culture, economic and socioeconomic backgrounds. When we do this, we are creating an inclusive, creative community. 

​Placemaking is rooted in 11 principles outlines by PPS. Some of these include:

  • ​The community in the expert
  • You are creating a place not a design
  • Develop a vision
  • You are never finished

The important piece to take away from these four principles is that placemaking is a community-wide activity and needs to encompass different people and ideas. The community has a big hand in the development of these spaces; not just one person created them. A great example of placemaking could be transforming an old building into a fresh space, creating a beautiful hangout in an alley or creating a seating place out of an underused area.  

In Melbournecommunity members took an underused part of a laneway and created boutiques, galleries and cafes out of unused enclaves. 

Photo Credit: Urban Idea

Or in Austin, a vibrant space was created in an alleyway, focusing on the ideas of the community as well as creating a fun gathering space out of nothing.  

Photo Credit: fyoog.com 

​And in Philadelphiaa barren train station sidewalk was transformed into a colorful, animated seating area that housed people waiting for trains but also held workout classes and season events. 

Photo Credit: Street Films

These three examples combined ordinary, overlooked places, into useful and colorful spaces for the community to come together. Placemaking is all about taking many ideas from many different people and combining them to create a safe, creative space for every member of the community.  REGISTER for our conference to continue the conversation and learn more about how this theme can relate to you and your community. 

Read more about placemaking and how it has affected other communities: 

​Blog post written by Communications Intern, Savannah Burkhart. 

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