PPS works with both the public and private sectors in planning, programming and designing vibrant networks of public spaces that are integrated into the fabric of a new development and the community as a whole. Simultaneously, we assist in the design of ground floors, storefronts, transit and civic uses that will support the public spaces and ensure their success.  With our expertise in transportation, public markets, parks and public buildings, we can bring a holistic approach to the entire development.  The following are areas in which we can be of help:


We firmly believe that the success of public spaces can largely be attributed to the activities, events, recreational uses and social encounters that take place there, whether planned or spontaneous, and not to a fixed design.  Consequently, our approach to planning lively urban environments focuses on creating a number of destinations that offer many things to do.  We call this concept the Power of Ten: to be successful, a community should have at least ten great places, and each place should have ten different things to do there. PPS will help a development team not only determine what those ten destinations will be, but also assist in developing a program of activities and uses for each public space. Since commercial areas and civic uses will be a critical component in the success of a mixed-use development, we will also advise how retail, restaurants and civic buildings can enhance public spaces and vice versa.


We can involve key stakeholders and the community in the planning process through a variety of public engagement techniques that focus on Placemaking.  Our Placemaking approach ensures that you will be building public spaces that achieve the goals that matter most to the community and puts the development team, the local government and members of the citizenry on the same page regarding an overall vision for the project.   This could break down barriers among interest groups and forge a common approach that will optimize the interests of all parties.


We can provide advice and expertise in the layout and design of the public spaces, including streets, buildings, storefronts, markets and amenities.  We will particularly contribute in the following areas:

Flexibility:  Public spaces must be designed and managed to respond to the changing needs of a community.  Their design, therefore, should be flexible and responsive rather than fixed and static.   We will help develop a strategy that will allow for the evolution of the public spaces as the development grows and changes.

Access:  Access and linkages also play a major role in creating vibrant public spaces.  We will help to optimize pedestrian, transit, bicycle and vehicular mobility and access.

Amenities: PPS has studied the role of seating, lighting, shade and landscaping – in short the amenities that make people feel safe and comfortable in a public space – and we will bring this experience to the table to assist the designers.

Ground Floors:  PPS will help in the design of storefronts, restaurants, public buildings and other ground floor uses that bring vitality to the streets and plazas, and enhance the success of the retail and other commercial uses.

Benchmarks:  PPS has collected more than half a million images of good public spaces around the world that can serve as inspiration and models for the spaces that we help you create.  In addition, we have collected useful case studies of successfully managed public spaces and market districts.  Through our PowerPoint presentations filled with these images and benchmarks, we can ensure that the development team and the stakeholders together create and maintain a consistent, shared vision.


PPS can assist the development team and the public sector in developing an effective implementation and public space management strategy.  We have learned from our many years of experience that 80% of the success of a great public space can be attributed to good management.  Indeed, it is more important than design in ensuring that a space is safe, comfortable and well-used.

Mixed Use Planning Services was last modified: March 6th, 2012 by Project for Public Spaces