Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

As NAR’s Placemaking Program continues to gain momentum, there are still many REALTOR® Associations that have yet to engage in a Placemaking activity in their community.    One of the biggest challenges facing Associations may be figuring out what to do.

NAR provides a variety of resources to help guide our REALTOR® Associations, including this blog.  We also have a Placemaking Guide that focuses on the details of Placemaking; the kinds of projects Placemaking entails; how to plan and organize projects; and where to go for assistance and more resources.

And yet another resource is our series of webinars in which speakers discuss Placemaking projects happening in their communities.    Some of these examples include a REALTOR® Association telling us how they used NAR’s Placemaking Micro-grant or Smart Growth grant to partner with others in their community on a Placemaking project.

So if you are looking for some ideas as to what you can do in your community, you may just want to have a listen and learn about what you may be able to do.

  • Reactivating Vacant Properties into Community Spaces
    Is your community faced with blighted and vacant properties that are disrupting the neighborhood's sense of community and lowering property values?  Then tune in to NAR’s next Placemaking webinar which will focus on how address and deal with vacant properties, specifically vacant lots.  After a brief overview of vacant properties and the negative impact on a community, you will hear from several organizations, including a REALTOR® association, on how they are transforming vacant and abandoned lots into community open spaces and vibrant gathering places.  Listen to the Webinar.
  • Streets as Places
    Streets make up more than 80 percent of the public space in our downtowns and no public space works harder than our streets.  But, streets need to do more than just move cars.  Streets need to be designed to meet the needs of people and create great places where people meet, sit, socialize, relax, wander about, play and more. Find out how to transform the streets in your community into great places with a variety of tools including street painting, parklets, plazas, block parties, seating, and other activities. Listen to the webinar.
  • Community Outreach Leads to Commercial Revitalization
    Discover how engaging communities in downtown revitalization can lead to leasing/sales of vacant buildings and other positive impacts on commercial real estate development. Targeted efforts involving REALTOR® associations, REALTORS® and community organizations - including a Better Block tactical urbanism event, a Main Street® planning approach, and a tour of vacant properties – have resulted in positive economic changes and are strengthening communities. Listen to the webinar.
  • Revitalizing with Main Street®
    Main Street® is a unique economic development tool that enables communities to revitalize downtown and neighborhood business districts by leveraging local assets.  This approach focuses on traditional commercial districts in a community and can help address vacant properties and other revitalization challenges.   Get an overview of Main Street® and hear from two of your REALTOR® peers who have initiated a Main Street® program in their communities to help revitalize their downtowns.  Listen to the webinar.
  • How to Build a Better Block
    Learn the ins and outs of a Build a Better Block project which involves a group of community stakeholders and volunteers organizing and making visible changes to a place over a day or two such as cleaning up litter, planting flowers, installing benches, and maybe launching temporary businesses called pop-ups in vacant storefronts. Listen to the Webinar.
  • Lighter, Quicker Cheaper
    Find out how to take small, incremental, low cost steps to quickly turn your community's vision into reality and build momentum for further improvements.” Lighter Quicker Cheaper (LQC) is an approach involving several small projects in a neighborhood where, taken together, will make the neighborhood a better place to live, work and play. These hands-on projects can be proposed and finished in months or


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.