Placemaking is both an overarching idea and a hands-on tool for improving a neighborhood, city or region. It has the potential to be one of the most transformative ideas of this century. Placemaking is a people-centered approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Put simply, it involves looking at, listening to, and asking questions of the people who live, work and play in a particular space, to discover needs and aspirations. It’s a place where people want to go voluntarily. You know the line from The Field of Dreams that says, “If you build it, they will come”? It’s the same with public spaces. If you make a space for people to stop their busy life and just spend time enjoying each other and the space, they will take advantage of it.
Placemaking can be used to improve all of the spaces that comprise the gathering places within a community—its streets, sidewalks, parks, buildings, and other public spaces—so they invite greater interaction between people and foster healthier, more social, and economically viable communities. But Placemaking is not just the act of building or fixing up a space; it is a process that fosters the creation of vital public destinations—the kind of places where people feel a strong stake in their communities and commitment to making things better. Placemaking capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration and potential, creating good public spaces that pro mote people’s health, happiness, and economic well-being.