What Is Placemaking, and Why Does it Matter for Communities?

April 09, 2021

What Is Placemaking, and Why Does it Matter for Communities?

You already know the importance of the aesthetic appeal of your homes and location when it comes to utilizing the land to its full potential and marketing the community. But if you don't already, you'll also want to be intimately familiar with placemaking and its importance.

"We know the arts play a significant and meaningful role in sparking vitality in communities of all sizes and shapes. We want to bring this country closer to a point when all communities are safe, lively, inclusive, and economically vibrant," Dr. Jane Chu, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, said of placemaking. "Every American deserves to call such a community home."

Beliefs like this — which are rapidly gaining traction — are shaping how homebuyers are picking and choosing the new homes they will reside in and the communities they want to be a part of. Here's what you need to know to make sure you're not only integrating placemaking opportunities into your communities but getting the news of these opportunities to potential buyers.

What is Placemaking?

Placemaking is the intentional use of land, community, and amenities to create great places to live. The idea is that instead of putting your focus only on the houses individually, you also give some special attention to the surrounding community as a whole. The concept of placemaking is nothing new, but it is certainly growing in importance in real estate and homebuilding. 

This means making the already-established public buildings in the area the main focus of your neighborhood, building off their historical and local value to enrich your community's culture and diversity — and just as importantly, encouraging people in the community to engage with each other and giving them places to do so.

Some ways you can incorporate this concept without breaking your budget:

  • Biking and walking paths
  • Park benches and other places to sit
  • Improved streets
  • Multi-purpose public spaces for community events and gatherings

"When [we] surveyed people about what placemaking means to them, we found that it is a crucial and deeply-valued process for those who feel intimately connected to the places in their lives," Project for Public Spaces reported. "It helps them to re-imagine everyday spaces, and to see the potential of parks, downtowns, waterfronts, plazas, neighborhoods, streets, markets, campuses, and public buildings anew."

5 examples of the best placemaking initiatives

Here are what Smart Cities Dive calls the five best placemaking initiatives in the U.S. for extra inspiration. They're unique because they encourage citizen participation and make their communities a friendly, creative place to be by simply encouraging more leisure activity. 

  1. Bryant Park, New York City
  2. The Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago's Millennium Park
  3. Boston's Adult Playground on D Street
  4. Mojo Robot in San Pedro, Los Angeles
  5. Village Building Convergence 2014

Why does Placemaking matter?

There are several reasons you're going to want to integrate placemaking into your communities, but to get straight to the most important factors — it's because it fosters inclusivity, encourages activities, and promotes economic growth. 

There's not much that's more important to buyers than living in a thriving community that cares about its residents, supports safe interactions between neighbors, and adds more value to their homebuying purchase. 

Fosters Inclusivity

Placemaking fosters inclusivity by basing the community around places that everyone can utilize and benefit from. Sure, a beautiful landscape can add a lot of aesthetic appeal to your homes, but a vibrant and thriving community gives buyers a more holistic peek into what their lives would be like when they purchase one of your homes.

Remember, however, that proper placemaking plans also take the community's voice into consideration, thus making the overall result more oriented to their biggest challenges, goals, needs, etc. You want to stay relevant to the local area so as not to confuse buyers and clash with your surroundings.

Encourages Activity

Both physically and socially, placemaking encourages activity and participation from all community members. Physically, different attractions like parks, pools, and playgrounds encourage healthier lifestyles and overall physical activity. Socially, community members are encouraged to interact with each other at these places as well as community centers, performing arts centers, and more.

This is particularly important as more people prioritize their overall physical and mental well-being, matching homes and communities to this element of their lifestyle.

Promotes Economic Growth

Great placemaking also has the ability to attract potential businesses to the area and improve overall economic growth. The more there is to do, and the more job availability in your area, the more appealing your homes will be to buyers looking to be a part of a neighborhood that has several job opportunities and activities to participate in. 

Not to mention, your homes become more valuable not only as a differentiating factor in a saturated industry but in their prices as well. The more valuable the location and community, the higher your ROIs and overall profit will be — truly maximizing the potential of the land you build on. 

From a community's perspective, you are also more likely to attract homebuyers when they are drawn to your community as a place, not just a place to live. It's one thing to stage and sell the purchase of a home to a homebuyer, but it's entirely different to be able to sell a way of life to a homebuyer. It effectively differentiates your brand and brings more prestige and value to your offer.

Create a Community — Not a Collection of Homes

Sure, it's already challenging to create the perfect master-planned community without adding local and cultural value to the mix — but it's more than worth it to learn more about placemaking and how to incorporate it. The most effective way to reach the right buyers with your homes is at the heart of the community you create. 

Everyone in the industry is crafting homes that buyers can see themselves in. Placemaking allows you to get ahead of the curve and create an inclusive and diverse community over a collection of homes close by. When you're ready, contact our team at Milesbrand for more tips and insights into placemaking and master-planned community development.

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