From Land to Brand: Placemaking Definitions 101

April 05, 2021

From Land to Brand: Placemaking Definitions 101

As a land developer, you can likely approach a space and easily identify all of the potential within it. Rolling hills beg for bike paths, each corner could use a lending library mailbox, and that bubbling pond could be made complete by a park bench.

Seeing each outlet and turning it into an opportunity is crucial for differentiating your community. Every investment you make into the land is an investment into the health and happiness of your consumers — and that commitment to client satisfaction won't go unnoticed. 

Thoughtful placemaking by land developers isn't just seen through pretty scenery. These master-planned communities reap benefits in the form of an improved local economy, increased home values, and improved health outcomes. In fact, individuals and families living in community-oriented, walkable areas are said to trust their neighbors more, face a decreased risk of heart problems and obesity, and more frequently participate in service activities. 

Every plot and place is different, so there's no one right way to introduce a sense of culture and community to your development. Still, a successful project relies on a clear understanding of what placemaking is and, more importantly, what it can look like for your residents. Milesbrand exists to help you find the perfect set-up and strategy for making your project shine. Read more to learn more about these common placemaking definitions.

The Making of Placemaking

Land developers probably feel all-too-familiar with "placemaking" — for many, placemaker could likely be used as an alternative job title. To be really effective, however, it's important that placemaking is much more than just a buzzword. Making your work meaningful relies on understanding placemaking's definition in full. 

Placemaking views land as not just the foundation for buildings, but as the heart of communities. This concept challenges builders to think outside of the box — or at least, outside of the walls of traditional homes — and create a holistic vision for a living space. Thoughtful planning of quality, public spaces is what will take your project from an average development to an award-winning one

From bike paths to parks to community centers with gyms, work spaces, pools, and more, placemaking transforms your landscape into a lifestyle. It prioritizes community gathering spaces and involvement, helping your prospective clients imagine themselves thriving in your master-planned development. The best part of all? There are endless ways to leverage the power of placemaking — it can make you money and make you unforgettable. 

Creative placemaking sets you apart

Every step of a land planner's job inevitably involves creativity. When we talk about creative placemaking, we're not differentiating a type of placemaking that's separate from boring placemaking — there's no such thing! Instead, these efforts seek to showcase the arts and natural beauty of communities. With creative placemaking, arts and culture are placed at the heart of every installation, mode of transportation, or public safety effort. 

Everyone can appreciate a good mural, but it can be easy to leave the arts out of your planning. Taking the time to research local issues, passions, and voices will help you to cultivate your community's culture and foster a sense of togetherness. As with other types of placemaking, creative efforts greatly expand what your development is capable of. It turns houses into homes, brings out the unity in community, and makes allies out of neighbors. 

Those who are in the market for a new home are inundated with advertisements and tour appointments. The extra steps you take in the creative placemaking phase will transform their experience from a chore to a treat. 

Strategic placemaking makes dollars and sense

Placemaking doesn't just bring aesthetic value — it can bring quite a bit of economic value as well. Just as with the previous section, it should be acknowledged that all successful placemaking is strategic. Still, these efforts specifically focus on introducing a defined goal or outcome to a community. 

By mapping out a clear strategy for your placemaking, you can target specific demographics or encourage certain lifestyles. Creating a walkable area with strong public transportation may appeal to young workers and new businesses. The resulting job creation and growth of income among residents will strengthen the local economy and increase the value of your community. 

Strategic placemaking and creative placemaking are not mutually exclusive activities. On the contrary, when used in tandem, you can create a strong, growing development that celebrates and elevates diverse voices and people. All communities have the same goal: to exist as a quality place for healthy, happy living. Conveniently, all placemaking strategies have a similar goal: to create quality places. 

Defining quality places

To know if your placemaking strategies were effective, you need to be able to recognize and evaluate quality places. From a splash-pad installation to a simple bench for reading, each element of your community should honor a few factors to maintain quality status. 

1. Effective utilization of space

This point may seem obvious, but it's easy to get caught up in the look of a space over its function. Be wary of venturing from "cool" into crowded. To check yourself along the way, consider how different groups with diverse interests could take advantage of your spaces. If your additions have actually limited the usefulness of your landscape, things may be too niche. 

2. Offer options in terms of housing and transportation

There's no shame in wanting your community to be cohesive, but don't get too cookie cutter! To create a truly diverse, representative, and welcoming community, you'll need to provide a variety of housing and transportation choices. For example, don't prioritize street parking at the expense of bike paths or bus spots. 

3. Create spaces that inspire more creating

The longevity of a community relies on land developers leaving their residents room to grow. Recreation and green spaces allow individuals to carve their own paths and execute their own ideas. 

4. Respect existing space and history

Placemaking is like embarking on a giant art project, but it's important to acknowledge that you don't always begin with a blank canvas. Successful projects require due diligence in honoring the community's heritage and existing historic structures. 

Go From Land to Brand

Does placemaking seem like a lot to handle? Fortunately, Milesbrand is the place to turn for industry experts, step-by-step advice, and professional tips. We align with our clients during the initial phase when the future community might be an open field or a pile of dirt, and we help to paint the picture for buyers before the community is built so they can see the value and lifestyle the master-planned community has to offer. 

After we create the brand, we launch the community and support our clients all the way through the last sale. If you're ready to take your places and your profits to the next level, contact us today to begin a partnership. 

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