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Steve Davies

Co-Founder & Executive Vice President

Steve Davies joined Project for Public Spaces in 1978 and has guided the development of the organization for more than 35 years. Davies is an advocate for livable communities and his work has taken him around the world as a consultant, facilitator and speaker.

With over 500 major projects on his resume, Steve has built a broad based portfolio of transformative placemaking projects which have been catalysts for community revitalization in the U.S. and abroad. Over his career, he has developed recognized expertise in downtown urban design, transportation planning, and design of mixed-use development projects. Today, much of his project work focuses on public markets and the role they can play in building community.

Steve has been instrumental in creating and launching key programs at PPS over his tenure including PPS’s public market program, transportation program, and expanding the global reach of placemaking. His seminal work in the Czech Republic and the Balkans after the fall of communism set the stage for the growth of placemaking as a global movement. These and other programs have gone on to influence professionals, community advocates and cities across the globe.

Steve currently co-leads PPS’s participation in the Bass Center for Innovation and Placemaking, a partnership with Brookings Institution.

An inspiring and accessible speaker, Steve has introduced tens of thousands of professionals to the PPS placemaking process. He has co-authored and written many books and articles, including Public Markets and Community Revitalization, Managing Downtown Public Spaces and The Role of Transit in Creating Livable Metropolitan Communities.


B.A. Art and Environmental Studies, Williams College

M.Arch, University of California, Berkeley

Awards & Honors

John K. Branner Traveling Fellowship in Architecture 

Award Winner, National Endowment for the Arts Grant Recognition Program (West 46th Street Project) 

Citation, Urban Design Newsletter Awards (Exxon Mini-Park Project)

Certificate of Merit, Municipal Art Society, New York City (Museum Mile Study) 

Award Winner, National Endowment for the Arts Grant Recognition Program (Museum Mile Study)

Award Winner, International Downtown Executives Association Award, 1983 (Hartford Downtown Council/PPS Hartford Management program)

Award Winner, Presidential Design Jury, Federal Design Achievement Award, 1984, administered by the National Endowment for the Arts (H.U.D. project on downtown improvements in seven cities)


"The Role of Transit in Creating Livable Metropolitan Communities," Transportation Research Board, 1996

"Public Markets and Community Revitalization," Urban Land Institute and Project for Public Spaces, Inc., 1995

"The Effects of Environmental Design on the Amount and Type of Bicycling and Walking," Federal Highway Administration, 1993

"Managing Downtown Public Spaces," American Planning Association, 1984

"Designing Effective Pedestrian Improvements in Business Districts," American Planning Association, 1983

"What do People Do Downtown? -- How to Look at Mainstreet Activity," National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1981

Learn about PPS's Three-pronged Approach to Drive Change