During our 30 years of work Making Places, we’ve seen that streets and roads have a vast impact on the communities and natural environments that they pass through. They can act as barriers that disrupt communities, erode their physical and social cohesion, and diminish residents’ quality of life – just as they can knit neighborhoods together, create lively pedestrian districts, and enhance the character and identity of the Places they tie together.
PPS’ approach to the improvement of streets and roads is to create places that respond to community needs, and where people feel safe and comfortable. We believe that creating such places requires a broad public involvement process that defines and responds to community conditions and needs, and creates a vision for the place. We call this approach Placemaking.
Placemaking, in essence, is PPS’ terminology for Context-Sensitive Solutions. Placemaking and CSS are both based on the premise that developing a successful public spaces entails more than a good design: it also requires that the design reflect the desires and needs of the community as a whole. Both Placemaking and CSS are a process as much as they are a product.