Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

Placemaking is for You and Your Community in 2018

As a new year begins, so does an opportunity to create a vibrant, new gathering spot in your community. This is an updated re-post from the very early days of the blog. It is an introduction to placemaking and hopefully will encourage you to become engaged with a project in your neighborhood.

Do you know a spot in your neighborhood that could use a little love and TLC? Maybe it’s an empty lot with overgrown weeds, or a beloved park or waterfront that has lost its luster and where no one goes anymore because there is no reason to go. Or, perhaps it's even an underused alley or street. If so, would you like to turn things around? Then Placemaking is for you.


NAR looks at Placemaking 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; read a book; take our kids to play; have a cup of coffee; meet friends;  or simply smell the flowers. Placemaking can transform an unwelcoming site to a beloved community spot by making it come to life.

Realtors working

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 program to encourage our state and local REALTOR® associations, and their members, to engage in Placemaking activities in their communities.  The program includes a guide, series of webinar, blog and grant.

Guide Cover Small

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 lots, open spaces, alleys, streets and waterfronts can be transformed to change things around.


This was a great project (placemaking) that brought together REALTORS®, builders and contractors. The project made a huge difference for the Community Gardens and was greatly appreciated. Thank you for believing in this project!  Jennifer Roche, Governmental Affairs Director, Knoxville Area Association of REALTORS®


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.