Why placemaking is important
Placemaking means creating places and puts a focus on the transformation of public spaces to strengthen the connections between people and the places they share. With a human-centric approach, its main focus is on people’s needs and building a community and space that reflects these needs.
An effective placemaking process results in the creation or improvement of public spaces that positively contribute to people’s health, happiness and wellbeing. This is why it’s so important that it’s placed at the heart of projects going forward.
For most the pandemic has reinforced the importance of community and people. Whether it’s helping your neighbours with their shopping, keeping an elderly neighbour company or supporting your neighbours through tough times. Though what most have also realised, is that they don’t really have a good community around them. Following a lot of closures throughout the pandemic, lots of towns and cities have also lost the once vibrant spaces where people used to meet, shop and work too.
Many people are now either working from home full-time or jumping into hybrid working, and this provides an opportunity to revitalise local areas, support local business and create open spaces for people to meet. That’s not to say that there’s no need for an office or city life, plenty of people will relish the thought of going back in and being around their team again. But it’s a chance for us to breathe new life into small towns and find that community spirit that we all saw throughout the pandemic.
Placemaking highlights just how creative we can be too. By reinventing everyday spaces like parks, plazas, streets, homes and shop fronts, we can be more creative and innovative. It belongs to everyone, too. Successful placemaking is when people of all ages and abilities can not only enjoy a place, but also play a key role in its identity and maintenance.
If we want to ensure these places become vibrant again and build communities to ensure long term social, environmental and economic outcomes are met then right across the industry, we need to make sure that placemaking is at the heart of any recovery plans.