Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

The Before & After, Part 7

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 local Placemaking projects.  Since the launch of the grant in 2014, we have approved over $870,00 in funding for over 300 community placemaking projects.   If you have an unused, underused, unwelcoming site in your community, maybe it’s time to transform it into a welcoming destination 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:

Palos Verdes Peninsula Association of REALTORS® (CA)


Palos Verdes Peninsula Assn. of REALTORS (PVPAR) received a Placemaking Grant from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) to assist with the Malaga Cove Beautification Project (Parkland Triangle at Via Ramon & Via Pinale). The site now includes a beautiful walkway towards the Malaga Cove Library and shopping area and drought resistant plants to be enjoyed in the years to come.  The NAR Placemaking Grant, Malaga Cove HOA (MCHOA) contribution & personal donations from the community funded this effort.  The PVPAR Young Professionals Network partnered with MCHOA volunteers & Bennett Landscapers to provide the manual labor to complete this job.  It was such an honor to be a part of this project.

Arkansas Valley Board of REALTORS® (CO)


A vacant lot was transformed into to a fun place to gather which was enhanced with artwork featuring the works of a local artist and reflects the town’s agricultural culture. The pocket park gives the Lamar residents a new place to gather where children can play and everyone can enjoy a meal, read a book, attend community dance classes, concerts, and film nights, or participate in other types of activities.

Mid-Iowa Regional Board of REALTORS® (IA)


We were contacted by the Conrad Chamber-Main Street organization about partnering with them on creating a usable space on an empty lot in their downtown area. The lot had formerly been used by a car dealership but the business had closed many years ago and the lot had become overgrown. The project started by painting a mural on the side of the building.  We then worked on the landscaping with the help of a professional landscaper, who donated items, and purchased a bench to be placed on the lot. Volunteers from the Board and the Conrad community pitched in to build the space that will be used for many years by the community and those coming to the community for events. We felt that rural communities, such as Conrad, are often overlooked as recipients of grants and were so pleased when NAR informed us that we would receive the funding to help complete the project. Visitors to Conrad are now welcomed to town with a pleasing green space.

RealSource Association of Realtors® (NJ)


The Association partnered with the Waldwick Historical Society to build new benches, plant shrubberies, spread mulch, and create a park-like setting around the Waldwick Erie Interlocking Tower.  The residents of the community, history buffs, and railroad fans are thrilled that the area has become a place where friends and neighbors can learn about the important role that manned signal/switching towers played in the operation of the railroad and the economic impact of the railroad to the community.

Southeast Iowa Board of REALTORS®


The grant helped to fund seating, lighting and landscaping for a complete renovation of an unused alley way in Oskaloosa. The alley is now used as an appealing community space, filled with local art and activated with entertainment and special events. The project was recognized as "2016 Signature Project of the Year" by former Governor, Terry Branstad.


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.