Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

Across the nation, traditional Main Streets represented one of the most iconic images of America.  There you would find a mix of housing, retail and civic uses.  The Main Street served as the social and commercial hub of communities.  But suburban development, shopping malls, road widening projects, bypasses, etc.  have now created deserted and desolate Main Streets.

To turn things...

Written by
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...

Written by
Vanessa Silberman, Senior Director of Communications & Strategic Initiatives, Levitt Pavilions, based in Los Angeles.

Neglected, crime-infested parks. A dormant downtown. The nation’s largest brownfield. A problematic landfill. What do all of these have in common? They all happen to be public spaces that were transformed into thriving, family-friendly...

Andrew M. Sinclair, Director, Government Affairs
Virginia Port Authority
(Past Government Affairs Director, Hampton Roads REALTORS® Association)

The City of Norfolk has become very proactive and innovative in its approach to planning and redevelopment.  Among the approaches it has taken include working with Team Better Block, not only to develop Better Block events in key...

By Kelli A. Walker
Sr. Director of Governmental Affairs
New Orleans Metropolitan Association of REALTORS®

When our association was approached about working on a Better Block project for the NAR Annual Conference here in New Orleans, I immediately knew this was something we had to do. The city of New Orleans is approaching 10 years since Hurricane Katrina, and while we have...

Do you know of a neighborhood in your community that has seen better days and is now a place with vacant storefronts, empty buildings and without much life? If so, you may want to consider “Better Block.”

Better Block is a demonstration tool that rebuilds and revitalizes an area using grassroots efforts to show the potential to create a great walkable, vibrant neighborhood – and even a...

Written by
Kathie Feldpausch, CPA, CAE, RCE
Senior Vice President, MICHIGAN REALTORS®

Perhaps you’ve been following the success of other local associations’ placemaking projects and you’re ready to launch one at your board. There’s just one question – where do you come up with a placemaking idea? How do you convince your board to add “another” new program when members and...


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.