In 2006, we asked people how they define “Placemaking.” The response–over 750 submissions from all corners of the globe–was overwhelming. The following selection highlights some of the best definitions and demonstrates the diversity, and surprising commonalities, in the hundreds of responses we received.

Placemaking is…

“…making Public Space a Living Space.”

“…a dynamic human function: it is an act of liberation, of staking claim, and of beautification; it is true human empowerment.”

“…creating for everybody.”

“…opening your heart to the beauty of a community.”

“…the seed of democracy.”

“…recognizing that cities are not just a collection of people but can be places of beauty and innovation.”

“…feeling like you belong here.”

“…thoughtful design.”

“…designing a public space that can be used by the community as a meeting place for communication, fun, relaxation, bonding, civic involvement, to name a few.”

“…creating value, worth, destination. ”

“…an act of liberation.”

“…a tool which gives professionals and the public the skills to create better environments in which to live, work and visit.”

“…connecting with each other.”

“…all the little things that make a spot memorable.”

“…making places that have meaning to people, enduring patterns of community use and memorable physical qualities.”

“…devotion to the collective effort.”

“…taking back the public realm to create memorable, beautiful, vibrant places where people want to gather and participate in the community.”

“…space design through the people’s eyes.”

“…capturing the soul of a neighborhood.”

“…creating an environment that people gravitate to.”

“…embracing people, buildings, events, nature. ”

“…the art and science of developing public spaces that attract people, build community by bringing people together, and create local identity.”

“…creating public spaces that serve the public.”

“…bringing concrete and enlivened connection to the spaces we share.”

“…the process of giving space a story that is shared by many.”

“…the art of harmonizing physical place to the need of people’s gathering.”

“…the process of incorporating humanity into space.”

“…purposely creating character and meaning in a public space.”

“…a great tool for building communities from the bottom up, using places where the community can come together, build consensus and learn civic engagement.”

“…the art of creating and enriching space for the people.”

“…leaving a legacy for our children.”