Transformative Placemaking: Turning Everything Upside-Down to Get it Rightside-Up
In the spring of 2013, we published a series of articles that surveyed the contemporary Placemaking field and looked at how actions can be taken—from both the top down, and the bottom up—to re-focus communities on place. We’ve collected links to all three parts here, in the hope that these articles will continue to inspire Placemakers from all walks of life, whether they’re working inside City Hall and trying to figure out a better way to engage their constituents, or working in a local community and struggling to get City Hall’s attention.
Each citizen is an essential component of their neighborhood’s sense of place, by virtue of the fact that they live, work, and/or play there. Get out there and claim your public spaces today!
Placemaking is a vital part of economic development. And yet, there has long been criticism that calls into question whether or not this process is actually helping communities to develop their local economies, or merely accelerating the process of gentrification…This is largely due to confusion over what Placemaking is, and who “gets” to be involved. If Placemaking is project-led, development-led, design-led or artist-led, then it does likely lead to gentrification and a more limited set of community outcomes.
As the link between bustling public spaces and economic development has grown stronger, some government officials have started advocating for change in this arena. After so many decades of top-down thinking, the learning curve is steep, and many officials are trying to solve human problems with design solutions. But a new citizen-centered model has also begun to emerge, that we’ve come to call Place Governance.
When you think about making your neighborhood a better place, think Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper. In public space design, the LQC strategy is framed as a way for communities to experiment with a place and learn how people want to use it before making more permanent changes. That experimental attitude can be adopted by anyone. Just ask yourself: what’s one thing I already enjoy doing that I could bring out into the public realm?