What Does Placemaking Look Like?

As you may have realized, Placemaking is not an easy term to define.  To make matters worse, there is no standard definition and everyone seems to defines it differently, including us –  the National Association of REALTORS® Community Outreach staff.

To help explain what we think Placemaking is, and the type of projects we would like our REALTOR® Associations to create in their communities using NAR’s  Placemaking Micro-grant, I thought a picture is worth a thousand words.    So, without further ado, here is what we think placemaking is all about.

A once overgrown, unsafe vacant lot in Roseland (IL) is transformed into a playground.   Placemaking Chicago.

Note:  the folks behind this project, Demoiselle 2 Femme, will be talking about this project on the Vacant Lots Webinar on June 3.

Another vacant lot in Chicago transformed into a fun, play place for everyone.  Placemaking Chicago.

Avers Community Garden in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood.  Note the stage for events.   There is also seating in the garden making it a gathering place for non-gardeners too.  Placemaking Chicago.

Plazas are popular in urban area.  Lincoln Square in Northwest Chicago.  Seating, water feature and more.  Placemaking Chicago.

A plaza conversion transforming a street into an open space.  This one is Triangle Plaza in Los Angeles and it was L.A.’s first pedestrian plaza

Alleys are great spaces to transform into vibrant community places. East Cahuenga Alley, or EaCa Alley, brings an open space for residents and tourists in L.A.

Take advantage of your water assets.  River walk was designed to bring people close to the Clinton River in Downtown Utica, MI. Photo by City of Utica.

Parklets are great Placemaking projects that can be implemented in just about any community.  Here’s one in Andersonville, IL.


 For rural areas, trails are the places to be.    One is the Withlacoochee Bike Trail, FL, a 46 mile trail created on an abandoned railroad track.

So do you think you can create one of these Placemaking projects in your community?