Suzanne Ishee, REALTOR®, Keller Williams Mid-Town Direct, Maplewood, NJ
President, Center for Creative Placemaking at Bloomfield College, NJ
“Creative Placemaking? What in the world does that have to do with me? My field is real estate, not the arts and culture! But….on second thought, I’m hearing a lot of talk these days about how the arts are making downtowns more vibrant and attracting more businesses. And my clients do like to meet their friends in ‘happening’ places. I keep seeing this ‘Creative Placemaking’ term pop up and it seems to be equated with a lot of positive impact on local economies. And I know the big buzz word right now is ‘sustainability.’ Better quality of life throughout our neighborhoods? Happy business people? Smart growth? Wait, maybe there is more to this than I first thought.
Does this sound like you? Perhaps you have been curious about those murals that are being painted at the commuter rail station and have wondered who was behind all of that. Are there any empty storefronts in town or ugly vacant lots? Do you just pass by, shaking your head and thinking it’s a shame.
Or maybe you have wondered if you could actually do something about this. Perhaps you have considered getting involved with the planning of these kinds of activities. In point of fact, it is critical to the success of Creative Placemaking planning that you do! Why? You are the local market expert. You are very good at influencing significant action in your community. You are a master at branding and telling people about all of the good things going on in your community.
Will this help your business? If you can make the commitment to bring out the best in your community, it will most definitely! Creative Placemaking is not a quick fix project. It is a long-term process where you will work alongside cross-sector key stakeholders in your community and influence decision-making through your invaluable input. You have vast data and information resources at your disposal. You have numerous and varied professional relationships to call upon. Most importantly, you have your finger on the pulse of your community.
Imagine, if you will, accessible streets, busy parks and open spaces, a bustling downtown, safe neighborhoods, bike & walk paths, rejuvenated buildings, new construction, quick turnover of housing. Now, see yourself as a recognized leader in bringing about these improvements in your community.
You can become the local ‘superstar’ in Creative Placemaking!
If this is something that interests you, the Center for Creative Placemaking at Bloomfield College offers a professional training workshop designed for real estate professionals to help them become local leaders for Creative Placemaking Planning. This program is targeted to professionals who are interested in or are already peripherally engaged in Creative Placemaking work. This course was developed by CCP team members who are licensed New Jersey REALTORS® and have amassed broad based knowledge with both commercial and residential real estate.
Note: If you would like to become engaged in a Placemaking project in your community, work with your local REALTOR® association to have them apply for NAR’s Placemaking Micro-grant.