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Steve Davies


Steve Davies joined Project for Public Spaces in 1978 and guided the development of the organization for 40 years as a member of PPS’s senior leadership team. Davies is an advocate for livable communities and his work takes him around the world as a consultant, facilitator, and speaker.  

With over 500 major projects on his resume during his long tenure at PPS, Steve built a broad-based portfolio of transformative placemaking projects which have been catalysts for community revitalization in the U.S. and abroad. He is widely recognized for his extensive expertise in downtown urban design, transportation planning, and the design of mixed-use development projects. Today, much of his project work as a consultant to PPS focuses on public markets and the role they can play in building community, and how placemaking supports local economies.

Steve was instrumental in creating and launching many key programs at PPS over his tenure including PPS’s programs in public markets and transportation; the Bass Initiative for Innovation and Placemaking; 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.

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 RevitalizationManaging Downtown Public Spaces, and The Role of Transit in Creating Livable Metropolitan Communities. He was a contributing writer to PPS’s second edition of How to Turn a Place Around.


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