Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

NAR’s Placemaking Resources to the Rescue

This is another update of a re-post which will introduce you to the resources NAR provides to REALTOR® associations to help them become engaged in placemaking projects in their communities.

The first several posts introduced you to this thing called Placemaking which hopefully piqued your interest.   You may have looked around your neighborhood and thought about a space or two that would be an ideal spot to transform from an "eyesore" or underused open space into a new, vibrant public space for the community to gather and enjoy.

If so, NAR is here to help you.    Recognizing the value of Placemaking to the real estate community, we created several resources to help our state and local REALTOR® associations, and their members, become engaged in Placemaking in their communities.

NAR's Placemaking Guide

First up is our Placemaking Guide.  The Guide gives you an overview of Placemaking and details of the various types of Placemaking activities such as Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper and Creative Placemaking.   It provides guidance on how to get started and how to ensure your project will be a success.

The Guide includes examples of Placemaking across the country including those where REALTORS® participated.  And, if you want to explore Placemaking in more detail, the Guide gives you a listing of additional resources.

San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks. Credit: City of San Francisco.
San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks. Credit: City of San Francisco.

To get even more ideas on a regular basis, you can check out the Spaces to Places blog which describes placemaking projects around the country including ones where REALTOR® Associations were engaged.

Realtors working

We also developed a series of webinars, all of which have been recorded, to explore Placemaking topics in more detail and to talk to experts in the field.

Our first webinar was on something called Lighter, Quicker Cheaper which involves taking small, incremental, low cost steps to quickly turn your community's vision into reality and build momentum for further improvements.   These projects could include community gardens, “parklets”, or dog parks.   These are the type of projects our placemaking grant will fund.

This was followed by webinars on Better Block and Main Street two different approaches to the revitalization of downtowns or commercial corridors.  These are the types of projects our Smart Growth grant will fund.

Parklet at Better Block Norfolk.
Parklet at Better Block Norfolk.

None of these projects can be done without resources and NAR has two grants to help our REALTOR® Associations with Placemaking projects.

The Placemaking Grant is targeted at creating new Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper projects which cost under $200,000 and can be built within a year.  These include parks/pocket parks, trails, gardens,  plazas, alley activations and parklets.  Funding is available for up to $5,000 via an easy online application process.


The Smart Growth Grant is to be used to help address land use and transportation policies which could include a community's revitalization efforts.  The grant funds planning, analysis, projects and community input for larger-scale projects like charrettes, feasibility studies, place visioning,  and community development strategies.   Funding is available up to $15,000.


And finally we provide technical assistance for those who may have a question or need more direction on a project they are thinking about.  Just give staff a call.

So what are you waiting for?   The time is right for you to start turning things around in your community and NAR is here to help.


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.