2012 was a big year in general here at PPS—and the same was true for the Placemaking Blog! We’ve had a blast communicating with Placemakers around the world through our blog, as well as through Facebook and Twitter. And so, to end the year on a reflective note, we thought we’d put together a round-up of our top posts from the past year, organized by popularity. See anything you missed??


Photo: Vincent Desjardins via Flickr

1.) Towards an Architecture of Place: Moving Beyond Iconic to Extraordinary

“In the last decade, some of the new buildings that have won the most acclaim exemplify what we might call a kind of new “Brutalism.” They recall that style’s monolithic disregard for human scale and for connection to the surrounding streetscape.”


Photo: PPS

2.) Seven Ways to Disrupt your Public Space

“Placemaking tosses out the idea that an architect or planner is more of an expert about how a place should be used than the people who are going to use it. By bringing people together around a shared physical place, it’s also a powerful tool for disrupting local complacency.”


Photo: Universal Pictures

3.) Ten Great Movies for Placemakers

“While the best way to learn about what makes a great place is often to get out and observe how public spaces work first-hand, there are films that illustrate Placemaking principles quite beautifully.”


Illustrations: Andy Singer

4.) Levels of Service & Travel Projections: The Wrong Tools for Planning Our Streets?

“When we try to eliminate congestion from our urban areas by using decades-old traffic engineering measures and models, we are essentially using a rototiller in a flowerbed. And it’s time to acknowledge that the collateral damage has been too great.”


Photo: Fred Kent

5.) Whom Does Design Really Serve?

“The design professions have been given free reign to set up a wholly dysfunctional system when it comes time to promote the best and brightest, and the results are devastating our public spaces…Whether [competition] jury members actually have to use the spaces that they praise is irrelevant. They are tastemakers, not Placemakers.”


Photo: PBS Newshour

6.) You Are Where You Eat: Re-Focusing Communities Around Markets

“[Public markets are especially viable] today because the global economy has skewered our sense of being able to support ourselves. Markets are very reassuring places, because they give you a sense of responsibility for your own health. People are experimenting, and reinventing what it means to have a good life.”


Photo: PPS

7.) Is Your City Design Centered or Place Centered

“It is critical to remember, in any project, that you are creating a place, not a design. While good design is important to creating great places, it is but one tool in your kit–not the driving force behind good Placemaking.”


Photo: PPS

8.) What Makes a Great Public Destination? Is it Possible to Build One Where You Live?

“Making a great place requires lots of participation from lots of people. That creates lots of new Placemakers, and inspires a whole new group of zealous nuts. Placemaking can change the way that people think about their role within their community.”


Photo: Brendan Crain

9.) Place Capital: Re-connecting Economy With Community

“Public spaces that are rich in Place Capital are where we see ourselves as co-creators of the most tangible elements of our shared social wealth, connecting us more directly with the decisions that shape our economic system.”


Photo: Dover Kohl & Partners

10.) Creating Great Streets: What Does it Take? An Interview with John Massengale & Victor Dover

“Although a lot of time and money was being put into large projects, they weren’t necessarily leaving behind streets that are better to grow a business on, or to make a home…We thought, ‘Why is that?’ It’s the Placemaking piece, actually.”


Photo: Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority

11.) Creativity & Placemaking: Building Inspiring Centers of Culture

“Shifting attitudes are chipping away at the austere walls of yesterday’s “culture ghettos,” with people demanding more inspiring, interactive gathering places. Creativity is becoming one of the most coveted social assets for post-industrial cities with increasingly knowledge-based economies–and this is good news for culture vultures and average Joes, alike.”


Photo: Ethan Kent

12.) How Small Change Leads to Big Change: Social Capital & Healthy Places

“Many people have become so used to their surroundings looking more like a suburban arterial road than a compact, multi-use destination that they’ve become completely disconnected from Place. Real life is lived amongst gas stations and golden arches; we have to visit Disneyland to see a thriving, compact Main Street.”

Best of the Blog: Top 12 PPS Posts of 2012 was last modified: January 1st, 2013 by Project for Public Spaces