Placemaking

What is placemaking?

Placemaking is a process that allows individuals and communities to shape their surroundings in ways that reflect their goals and dreams. Through placemaking, local communities work together to transform public spaces into communal, creative, and imaginative places. Placemaking puts tools in the hands of residents, empowering neighborhoods to develop and promote a unique sense of place. Using tools like benches, public art, traffic calming, street lighting, local plants, and signs; placemaking can transform generic or sterile spaces into beloved and creative spaces.

What does placemaking have to do with Friendly Streets?

The Friendly Streets Initiative hopes to work with Hamline Midway and Frogtown residents in the placemaking process through the Friendly Streets Block Parties. The Block Parties will be an opportunity for residents to come together and think about how you envision public spaces, particularly the streets you live, walk, ride, and play on. Through interactive and creative activities as well as a gallery of placemaking images and techniques, residents will give feedback and collaborate on the future of Charles Avenue and the streets that surround it.

What do other people have to say about placemaking?

Over the last forty years, placemaking has become a popular tool in planning, designing, and managing public spaces across the country. Here’s how some other organizations define placemaking:

“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.” -Metropolitan Planning Council of Chicago

“Placemaking is a multi-faceted 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 their needs and aspirations. This information is then used to create a common vision for that place. The vision can evolve quickly into an implementation strategy, beginning with small-scale, do-able improvements that can immediately bring benefits to public spaces and the people who use them.” -Project for Public Spaces

“Placemaking is a multi-layered process within which citizens foster active, engaged relationships to the spaces which they inhabit, the landscapes of their lives, and shape those spaces in a way which creates a sense of communal stewardship and lived connection.  This is most often accomplished through a creative reclamation of public space: projects … that demonstrate to all who pass through that this is a Place: inhabited, known and loved by its residents.” -City Repair

Where can I learn more about placemaking?

Check out some of the organizations below for more information on placemaking across the country and here in the Twin Cities:

City Repair

Paint the Pavement

Saint Paul Smart Trips

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