What is Placemaking?
by Karoline Fagan, on 5/11/21 2:00 PM
In short – its creating and transforming public spaces, but there is much more to it than that.
Placemaking isn’t a new concept, although since the beginning of the COVID19 outbreak, and now living in a new socially distanced society, we have had to adapt the way we move about in our everyday lives and have a new found consideration of our surrounds. The idea behind creating a placemaking activation is to produce a setting for the community to utilise, transforming what would regularly just be an open public space into a public place. Its making great places to visit, and creating vibrant and interactive spaces for the community to gather and connect.
With the pandemic turning the world and the way we do things upside down, it became very clear that having safe and inviting public spaces available to the community was going to be essential to moving forward, allowing people to engage with their surrounds, and re-ignite the local economy and atmosphere. Placemaking encourages local activity, providing a standout location and directing people back into their local areas and enjoying the outside space.
A crucial piece of a successful placemaking activation is knowing your community and understanding what is going to benefit them. After all, they are the people living, working, and enjoying the local area. With that being said, it leaves placemaking open to so many possibilities. Considering the surrounding environment, the demographic you want to appeal to, providing sustainable and responsibly sourced products and materials, utilising local business to support in bringing the activation to life, accessibility for a diverse range of needs and of course, being eye catching and interactive in some way, are all things to keep in mind when planning and designing a placemaking activation.
There is also range in the type of placemaking spaces you can create. While the overall focus is to provide a community space, the intention behind it can vary. Are you wanting to create a permanent feature, that will stay for years to come? Playgrounds, pavilions, outdoor furniture, art features and sports facilities, these are all public spaces aka placemaking! Or maybe a semi-permanent space or pop-up park will suit your community needs. Something that can be set in place for a set period and then stored to be used again, or even moved to a different location with a fresh take on its surrounds.
The pros of a semi-permanent placemaking design, is that if the activation isn’t performing the way it was intended, is found to have declined in popularity or has just run its set course, moving it to another location can breathe new life into the initiative and provide benefit to another part of the community. With enough support from the community, a semi-permanent pop-up placemaking space could even have the potential to be implemented permanently. They are a great opportunity to test the waters, adapt if and where necessary, and then apply for a longer term.
Having worked with multiple councils on their placemaking requirements, we have seen differing needs from each one, but the main objective being quite clear – create great places!
We have many years experience in delivering large-scale, custom projects for a variety of clients and can work with you to provide the best advice on design, materials and project management, all with respect to your ideas and budget. We are on-hand to answer questions, provide advice and bring your placemaking vision to life.