Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

Waterfronts and waterways are one of a community’s greatest assets.  Water draws people in.   Where there is water, there are people.   People gather around water to relax, play and enjoy.

Water builds on a community’s authentic historical, cultural and environmental place-based assets and r provides a great opportunity for placemaking.   In many communities, lakes, rivers and pond...

Many towns have abandoned former railroad corridors that now are unused and unwelcoming parcels of land in a community.   These corridors are great opportunities to create a destination and transform that corridor into vibrant public places.  Ideal for many uses, such as walking, bicycling, inline skating, cross-country skiing, and equestrian and wheelchair use, rail-trails are extremely...

Sometimes a place exists in a community where it may need some enhancements and improvements to make it more welcoming.    This is a trend I am seeing as I review NAR’s Placemaking Micro-grants applications.   Project requests have included planting trees along a trail; replacing benches in a park; and funding streetscaping projects.

But…would these projects really create a new place...

Written by
Lara Schultz, Realty Executives, SELA, Metairie LA

It started with a kiss – a big slobbery one from the cutest little basset hound. He was out for his twice daily walk along with another 20 or so volunteers and their four-legged friends, forming a single line following a fairly unattractive and uneventful path down a potholed street, turning the corner at the abandoned...

Written by
Evan McMillan, Community Affairs Director, Wilmington Regional Association of REALTORS®

The Wilmington Regional Association of REALTORS® (WRAR) is partnering with the Wilmington Housing Authority, Wilmington Green, a local non-profit, and the Interfaith Refugee Ministry to launch a project to create a sustainable model for creating community gardens in the...

Written by
Eliezer Rodriguez, Esq.

Association Executive Officer, Bronx Manhattan North Association of REALTORS® (BMNAR)

NAR’s Placemaking Micro-grant could not have come at a better time.  Last September, Kathy Zamechansky was sworn in as the 57th President to lead BMNAR’s Board of Governors.  At her first Executive Board meeting, Kathy emphasized working more...

Written by
Kathy Hall, President, Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of REALTORS® (MIBOR)

Fortville Action Inc., a volunteer run organization aimed at strengthening and promoting Fortville, Indiana, worked with the town to close off an alleyway from vehicular traffic in order to transform the space into a pedestrian friendly walkway and destination in the heart of downtown....


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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Placemaking is a way to make your community a better place to live and work by transforming public spaces into vibrant community places.