Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

Placemaking is for You and Your Community

Do you know a spot in your neighborhood that could use a little love? Maybe it’s an empty lot with overgrown weeds, or a beloved park or waterfront that has lost its luster and has seen better days. Or perhaps it's a deserted plaza, alley or other public space where no one goes, or worse, is afraid to go. If so, would you like to turn things around? Then Placemaking is for you.

Placemaking is best defined as the transformation of an unused--or underused--public space into a vibrant place for the whole community to gather, relax and have fun. Neglected spaces become welcoming, safe, enjoyable places that residents will return to again and again. Placemaking creates places where we can sit and relax; take our dog for a walk; eat our lunch; take our kids to play; have community meetings; meet friends; read a book; and simply smell the flowers. Placemaking can enhance a public space and make it come to life.

Placemaking enriches our social and personal lives. It can impact our sense of place, local identity and quality of life.  Placemaking creates the kind of places where people feel a strong stake in their communities and a commitment to making things better.   And, it can help to spur the revitalization of other areas in the neighborhood, making your neighborhood a great place to live, work and play.

The National Association of REALTORS® supports Placemaking and believes it has a positive impact on real estate.   We have created a Placemaking Initiative to encourage our state and local REALTOR® associations, and their members, to engage in Placemaking activities in their communities.

This blog will delve into Placemaking in more detail; describe the various types of Placemaking activities; and report on examples of Placemaking across the country and within the REALTOR® community.   We hope you visit us often and let us know when you engage in Placemaking in your community and the impact those activities had on your community.

So, take a look around your neighborhood to what plazas, parks, alleys, bus stops, sidewalks, streets and waterfronts can use some TLC and start to change things around.

“Placemaking projects don’t have to be hard or expensive to do. Even if it’s just sprucing up a bus stop, the smallest changes can make a big difference.”  Kay Watson, Chair, NAR’s Smart Growth Advisory Board.


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.