Key Characteristics of Strong Creative Placemaking Design

November 04, 2021

Key Characteristics of Strong Creative Placemaking Design

Strong creative placemaking is all about envisioning the ideal place that people will love to call their home – how would they describe this haven to others? Not only does successful creative placemaking provide alluring activities, amenities and connected spaces, but it also satisfies our intrinsic desires for comfort, security and belonging.

Everyone wishes to find a home that acts as a safe space, and creative placemaking is about meeting those needs and more. The purpose of placemaking is to create a community that expands beyond our base requirements for our homes to deliver a place that satisfies our basic needs, promotes a healthy lifestyle and encourages social connections.

Put simply by Congress for the New Urbanism, “placemaking is the process of creating quality places that people want to live, work, play, and learn in.” To develop these Quality Places, creative placemaking is conducted to ensure the community centers around several key attributes that support these activities and desires.


To create a well-planned creative placemaking design, it’s critical to consider the significance of the surrounding area within the community. Residents of the community chose to live at this particular location for a reason, and it’s likely they wish to feel connected to the region and its culture. Strong creative placemaking contemplates how the development can best represent the social and cultural identity of the surrounding community. To integrate the community with its surroundings, it’s important to highlight the region’s historical roots and character within the neighborhood to ensure that residents experience a sense of cultural connection

The American Planning Association attests that successful creative placemaking focuses on “connecting local history with the present, bringing cultural influences into the spotlight and creating new traditions.”

Rather than filling the community with a diverse design that separates it from its location, insightful placemaking features regionally-inspired touches, local art styles, aspects of the area’s culture throughout that make residents feel as if they belong within the area.


When we think of home, we expect to feel comfortable and at ease. Ideally, this is the place where we come home after a long day and find relaxation and escape from our troubles. That’s why strong creative placemaking ensures that the community offers a sense of comfort through several qualities:

  • Character – Giving a community strong character helps immerse residents in a unique experience and instills heartwarming sentiments that make them feel at ease. Providing a community that exudes character heavily relies on exceptional master-planned community branding that offers a meaningful brand story and shares it with residents in a compelling way. By building a brand identity for the community, it begins to have a defined character that is tangible to both potential buyers and residents.
  • Charm – Communities with charm present a unique invitation to discover a quaint lifestyle that many people find appealing. Imbuing a community with charm comes down to creating vibrant, lively spaces that delight and excite residents. By building a creative placemaking design that implements intriguing, charming spaces, residents are more likely to feel intimately connected to their community.
  • Cleanliness – When spaces are clean and free of litter, people are more likely to trust and respect certain places. When places are scattered with litter, it’s seen as a sign of neglect and makes the space more likely to be viewed with disdain and wariness. A study on urban safety found that by removing trash from images of places, there is a 30% increase in the perception of safety. The safer residents feel, the more comfort they experience within their community.

When these attributes are successfully delivered, homeowners are more likely to find that their community is a comfortable place where they truly enjoy living.


To create a community that is truly welcoming and warm, it’s vital to promote inclusive values and encouragement of diversity. This means recognizing and accommodating all the different ways that residents live and interact within the community by providing a variety of housing and transportation options. It’s essential to consider how the community can showcase a design that is representative of diverse lifestyles, rather than conventional or standard. Successful creative placemaking also promotes inclusivity by implementing places that are beneficial for all residents with consideration of their collective needs to deliver a fulfilling and well-rounded development.

According to ArtPlace America, successful creative placemaking “…fosters connections among people and across cultures. The relationships built among diverse groups of people create safer, more open places that create more opportunity and foster a sense that everyone is welcome.”


Easy accessibility should be a critical contemplation for creative placemaking, as residents often prioritize their ability to travel to and from their homes. If going to places within the community or commuting to and from the location is challenging, residents may be dissuaded to remain living there. Creating an easy route in and out of the community is often made possible based on the chosen location, so it’s important to select an area that allows the implementation of convenient access points to the development. To achieve ideal accessibility, creative placemaking incorporates helpful transportation into its design to further simplify the travel process for residents.

Successful creative placemaking also requires careful attention to the placement of diverse spaces within the community. Meticulous planning ensures that different places are well-integrated into the fabric of the community and easily accessible to residents. Popularly used spaces such as community centers, parks and playgrounds should be placed where they can be accessed conveniently for those using it daily rather than disconnected and cumbersome to visit. By remaining conscious of how the placement of each space impacts the lifestyle of the community residents, creative placemaking acts as a vital way to deeply connect people to the place where they live.


Intuitive placemaking offers unique opportunities for members of the community to actively communicate and lead strong social lives. This is why many communities incorporate inviting common areas that encourage healthy connections and forming relationships. These common areas offer a strong design and great community placement to ensure these social centers are conveniently accessible for all.

From nature trails to community centers, recreation facilities, parks, community pools and more, developments with exceptional creative placemaking often deliver sites with plentiful opportunities for social interactions among neighbors. Thoughtfully planning these spaces allows the community’s residents to enjoy a stronger sense of belonging through newfound connections – sounds like the making of an incredible lifestyle to us!


Safe and healthy spaces are known to play a significant role within community life. One of the most important aspects that many expect to find in their home and community is a sense of security. While the development may be built in a relatively safe location, this doesn’t mean its residents will automatically perceive that if the community doesn’t look and feel like a secure place. Successful creative placemaking works to develop a dynamic environment within a community that offers residents confidence in their safety and wellbeing.

“..public or community safety, can be broadly defined as the idea that communities and their residents can be safe from risk of harm, injury, or loss of property. Most stakeholders involved with these sites viewed safety as a key ingredient for healthy civic life and economic vitality,” reported by The Urban Institute.

While part of producing the perception of safety within a community requires establishing features that reduce the likelihood of harm to occur, it’s also essential to consider what makes people feel safe in a public space. Often these elements that provide the feeling of security only do so in appearance rather than function. This could be as simple as planting flowers, adding comfortable benches along paths and ensuring the area’s consistent cleanliness. Places with these simple amenities often lead residents to believe their community is a safe space where they can feel at ease.

Effective creative placemaking should incorporate aspects to create a greater perception of security while also truly finding ways to decrease openings for harm or injury. Creating spaces that offer components to lessen the chances of harm can be accomplished by instituting well-lit pathways, developing well-connected places and offering easily accessible transportation throughout the development.

Work with Milesbrand to Create Strong Creative Placemaking Strategies

Creative placemaking brings out the best in an environment to show homebuyers the appealing potential of a master-planned community. We are experts at helping home builders and real estate developers create fulfilling communities through creative placemaking for their target buyers. Our exceptional marketing and branding ensure that your community’s value is communicated in a compelling way to the right target audience.

Contact our team today to enlist our help in planning an incredible community design, sharing your brand through strong marketing strategies and offering outstanding lifestyle appeal to your target homebuyers.

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