4 P’s for Placemaking


Initially published at CAAC blog


Several definitions tackle the concept of Place Making. The description of Wikipedia cannot be dismissed, as it enounces that “Placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Placemaking capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well being.” Therefore, it makes sense to highlight the depiction by Chris Eaker, as “a public space where it just felt good.” Or the account of Creative Placemaking given by Pru Robey, Director of Artscape’s Creative Placemaking Lab, and Tim Jones, President and CEO:


Capital, the explanation of the Project for Public Spaces: “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.” They have also identified eleven principles for a successful placemaking.

From all the literature, three main factors in placemaking can be stressed:

People: If the community, the civil society and the individual citizens / artists are not involved to a degree that makes them own the initiative avoiding tokenism… we’re just before another regeneration project with good intentions but not enough impact. However, for this transition to happen, people must be given enough means to maximize shared value. That’s where the other two factors become essential:

Public Authorities: Regulations, funds, political will, council involvement… many readings for a simple statement: the local authority has to be part of the process, as an actor but also as a facilitator. And this dialogue, to be fruitful, cannot be limited to formal events / memos.

Project: Placemaking cannot be the answer to a lack of interventions neither the response to an indefinite “let’s do something”. So the project approach is the basis; meaning that the vision has to be identified by the community, that the resources have to be gathered and implemented, that triangulation has to be searched for and that roles should be clarified.

Those are the factors inspiring me as a City Storyteller. Moreover, these three P’s can be summarized in the fourth: Partnership.

Are you missing a P?

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