Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

Could Southwest Airlines Help Your Community?

Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community program was developed to support and activate public spaces in the heart of cities. Launched in April 2014, the program aims to support Placemaking – a movement that reimagines public spaces as the heart of every community.   The program provides direct grants and technical assistance to local community partners to bring new life to their public spaces.

If Southwest Airlines has a hub in your city, you might want to see if it is eligible to apply for a Heart of the Community grant.

Reprinted:  By Project for Public Spaces on

Six New Cities Awarded Heart of the Community Placemaking Grants

This morning, Southwest Airlines announced that non-profit organizations in six U.S. cities will receive Placemaking grants to help them reimagine and reactivate important but underutilized public spaces in their city.

Through their groundbreaking Heart of the Community program, established in 2014 in partnership with PPS, Southwest has become a pioneer in the Placemaking movement. After three successful pilot projects in Detroit, Providence, and San Antonio in 2013, the program has since supported Placemaking initiatives in Chicago, Houston, Baltimore, and San Diego. Today, on the heels of this announcement and in celebration of Earth Day, kick-off celebrations are being held on both coasts–in Baltimore’s newly transformed Pratt and Light Plaza as well as in the Plaza de Panama in San Diego’s Balboa Park!

Selected through a competitive application process, here are the six Heart of the Community grant recipients for 2015:

In bringing the transformative power of Placemaking to cities across the United States, Southwest Airlines is also helping to raise awareness of Placemaking as an important social cause and a catalyst for building sustainable, healthy, inclusive, and economically viable communities.

The movement is in full swing, and we can’t wait to see how these places and communities transform in the coming year!

Map of “Heart of the Community” cities


Community Outreach Programs

Housing Opportunity Grant
Housing Opportunity Grants support state and local REALTOR® Associations’ affordable housing activities. The goal of the program is to position REALTORS® as leaders in improving their communities by creating affordable housing

Smart Growth Grant
Smart growth is an approach to development that encourages a mix of building types and uses, diverse housing and transportation options, development within existing neighborhoods, and community engagement. The Smart Growth Program offers state and local REALTOR® Associations to way to engage with government officials, community partners and the general public in planning and designing community’s future.

Planned diversity initiatives makes good business sense. REALTOR® Associations with well-planned diversity programs create a stronger sense of community, particularly in neighborhoods with high concentrations of foreign-born and minority residents who are moving up the socioeconomic ladder and are buying homes.

NAR Placemaking Resources

Placemaking Guide: A Guide to Transform a Public Space into a Community Place
REALTORS® and state and local association staff can learn the details of Placemaking, the kinds of projects placemaking entails, how to organize them, and where to go for assistance and resources.

Placemaking Webinar Series
Our Placemaking Webinar Series will provide more in depth information on the various types of Placemaking and how REALTORS® were involved in Placemaking activities in their communities.

Placemaking Grant
The Placemaking Grant funds the creation of new public spaces, like pocket parks, trails & gardens, in a community. The grant focuses on “lighter, cheaper, quicker” placemaking projects, which can be built under a year and cost less  than $200,000.

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Smart Growth

The healthier a community, the better the environment for REALTORS®. Keeping a community attractive, livable and functioning well is a complex task.