What are the benefits of effective placemaking in your community?

Effective placemaking techniques can yield a number of benefits for communities of all shapes and sizes when it comes to activating public spaces.

November 30, 2016

ArtHop in downtown Kalamazoo. Photo by the Michigan Municipal League.

Effective placemaking techniques can yield a number of benefits for communities of all shapes and sizes when it comes to activating public spaces. Placemaking can be implemented in various places, such as an entire downtown district or a single neighborhood, to improve the local quality of life. These techniques can also be used to help communities attract and retain talent through improving the quality of their key centers, nodes and corridors, and providing a wider range of housing, transportation, entertainment and recreational opportunities.

Through attracting new talent to the area, placemaking has the potential to increase economic competitiveness by creating jobs to retain these talented workers, which in turn will create a growing tax base and tax revenues that can support the growth of urban services. Increasing these services and bringing in new residents and visitors also makes communities more attractive for developers, since they are likelier to have a higher return on investment. Plus, the increased activity in the area creates an environment that is more favorable for new businesses to open.

Placemaking can also assist in economic development at the regional level, where regionally significant locations can be targeted for Strategic Placemaking projects, which can lead to their inclusion in regional economic development plans as areas that are priorities for new investment.

These benefits reach beyond economic growth and the improvement of the facilities in a community or region, and can have impacts on design, community engagement and the performance of local governments. Placemaking can be used to preserve, restore and improve historic urban form to help contribute to the character of important historic buildings or structures.

For new developments and projects, placemaking techniques can be used to improve the design and use of the public realm. These projects also can be successfully implemented with ample citizen engagement, as proper placemaking involves taking the time to empower citizens and various key stakeholders to engage and assist in creating a shared plan. Then, it is important to involve them continuously throughout the implementation of those plans. This can be done by modernizing the development review process and utilizing various community engagement approaches, such as charrettes.

Local governments also benefit from placemaking techniques as, over time, their ability to move more quickly from project planning to action is increased. Placemaking also helps these entities to communicate their investment priority areas and projects to state and federal agencies, which assists them in seeking and receiving targeted support. From regional and local governments to the average citizen, placemaking techniques help to transform everyday public spaces into active places that breed engagement and economic development, and are exciting places to live, work, play, shop, learn and visit.

To learn more, place an order for a free copy of the Land Policy Institute’s Placemaking Guidebook.

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