Investing in Placemaking

The Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community program was developed to support and activate public spaces in the heart of cities. Launched in April 2014, the program aims to support Placemaking – a movement that reimagines public spaces as the heart of every community. Through a multi-year partnership with Project for Public Spaces (PPS), the pioneering organization behind Placemaking, Southwest Airlines is committed to leveraging the power of Placemaking to strengthen connections between people and the places they share and to spark social, economic, and environmental benefits in communities across the U.S. and abroad.

Inspired by the transformative Placemaking stories of Bryant Park, Discovery Green, Eastern Market and hundreds more, Heart of the Community aims to:

  • Help communities across the country bring new life to their public spaces, transforming them into vibrant places that connect people and strengthen communities
  • Raise mainstream awareness of Placemaking as a defined social cause and a catalyst for building sustainable, healthy, inclusive and economically viable communities
  • Encourage participation and volunteerism that benefits public spaces in local communities

A Breakout Moment

At Project for Public Spaces, we have been helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities for almost 40 years. Over that time, we’ve seen Placemaking grow into an international movement. It’s a movement that needs the energy and input of people in all walks of life to get us to the point where every community is empowered to shape its own public spaces.

The Heart of the Community program is a breakout moment for Placemaking, and the partnership was recently highlighted in the 2015 United States Conference of Mayors Business Council Best Practice Report: Mayors and Businesses Driving Economic Growth. By investing in Placemaking, supporting important research, and engaging their thousands of Employees in Placemaking volunteer efforts, Southwest Airlines is making a bold statement about the vital role public spaces play in our communities.

Applications for 2017 Projects

Have questions about the program or interested in applying? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more and sign up for program notifications. Applications for 2017 Heart of the Community grants will be available the final week of October 2016.