Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

The Before & After, Part 10

The National Association of REALTORS® encourages our state and local REALTOR® Associations to partner with others to make their communities better places to live.   Our Placemaking Grant is available to our REALTOR® Associations to help fund the creation of new public spaces and destinations in a community.  Since the launch of the grant in 2014, we have approved over almost $1 million in funding in nearly 400 communities.   If you have an unused, underused, unwelcoming site – an “eyesore” – in your community, maybe it’s time to transform it into a welcoming place for the community to gather.

As part of the grant requirements, we ask for a before photo of the site and an after photo of the completed project to show how the site was transformed.  Here are some of those completed projects.   Also see the blog posts on other projects:


It started with an idea to buy a vacant lot and transform it into a space everyone could use: a community garden. More than twenty REALTORS® from the MIBOR REALTOR® Association came out to help plant trees, spread mulch, tend to the grow beds, build a tool shed and help set up an urban chicken coop so neighbors could purchase fresh eggs while also growing produce. Today, the garden is also a place for the whole community to visit, relax and enjoy. See How a REALTOR® is Helping to Change a Neighborhood in Indianapolis

YUMA Association of REALTORS® Inc.

The Yuma Association of REALTORS® transformed an unsightly, underutilized retention basin into a beautiful and vibrant neighborhood park in the border town of San Luis, AZ.  Working alongside the City of San Luis, and its Parks and Recreation Department staff, local REALTORS® installed sidewalks, landscaping, a shaded picnic and barbecue area, along with a sitting bench overlooking a large grassy area where the children can play. Not only did the project provide a spot for the neighborhood to gather, it also resulted in an improved relationship and increased credibility with our local officials who see that we are ready to work with them on projects which improve our community and benefit our residents. Yuma REALTORS® community outreach projects focus on improving quality of life within our communities. and as a result, the involvement has helped to enhance the image of REALTOR® in the community. These projects are vital in developing and improving relationships with our local city officials and elected leaders and help pave the way for future partnership projects as well as help to build bridges which may serve us well in the future when dealing with more contentious and challenging issues.

Pocono Mountains Association of REALTORS®

The Pocono Mountains Association of Realtors® partnered with other community organizations to create a pocket park in Stroudsburg, PA.   Realtor® members were involved with all stages of the planning and implementation of the project that resulted in a lovely gathering place for the community. The space includes benches, games, flowers and water permeable pavers and has proven to be a huge hit with the residents of Stroudsburg.

Ann Arbor Area Board of REALTORS®

The Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors® worked together with The City of Milan, Main Street Milan, and many local businesses to create a new space called the “Little Park” in the city of Milan, Michigan.  The previously vacant lot on Main Street was transformed into a green gathering space with tables, chairs, lights, and plants for the community to enjoy various activities.  Since the opening of the Little Park, the space has been used for the community’s “Main Street Milan’s Third Thursdays” event which is held every month in the summer.  Events during these “Third Thursdays” include farmers markets, musical entertainment, artist showcases, food trucks, and an endless amount of kids’ activities.  Along with the funding, Realtor® members volunteered to help create the park by assembling the new tables and chairs for the space.


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.