Placemaking is an urban planning movement that seeks to improve and re-imagine public spaces in the community by investing in them and transforming them into areas of activity and connection for the neighborhood. Turning an empty lot into a farmer's market, for example, not only helps strengthen the community, it also makes the neighborhood more desirable for people to live and increases property value.
The National Association of REALTORS®' placemaking initiative is about involving associations and boards, and their members, in "transforming spaces that are unused or underused, such as vacant lots, to vibrant community gathering places," says Holly Moskerintz, Community Affairs Representative for NAR.
NAR even offers micro-grants to local associations to help them implement and maintain placemaking activities in their communities.
Here are five examples of placemaking initiatives that you can develop in your community:
Finding the Right Spot for a Community Garden
How do you bring together Burmese refugees with limited English skills and local residents? The Wilmington Regional Association of REALTORS® demonstrated that placemaking is about finding opportunities for neighborhoods to form cohesion—to "thrive together"—by planning the creation of community gardens in the Wilmington area.
REALTORS in Action: Alley to Pedestrian Walkway Transformation
Fortville, Indiana has seen a "flourishing of new businesses" on its Main Street, which means traffic—foot traffic. Now, with the help of a placemaking micro-grant from the National Association of REALTORS, and the efforts of the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of REALTORS®, what was once an alley is set to become a pedestrian walkway and community destination.
The Power of Collaboration in a Rural Town
The small town of Richmond, Maine (population: just over 3,000) recently raised community funds for a new library. When those funds were depleted—and the library’s exterior still "bore the scars of construction"—they successfully applied for a placemaking grant with NAR. The result? An outdoor reading room and community garden.
19 Things to Do With a Roofless Building
Roofless buildings aren’t just eye-sores: they’re potential beer gardens. And coffee shops. And concert spaces. These, and nineteen other ideas, stem from the placemaking concepts of "lighter, quicker, cheaper."
Transform Your Street, One Parking Space at a Time
"Parklets. 'Parks' in parking spaces. Taking away parking spaces to sit in the street." This is Seattle’s new placemaking program—and it’s in demand, according to Jennifer Wieland of the Seattle Department of Transportation, who has helped to implement five parklets around the city with another 10 in design and permitting.
source: Spaces to Places