Intro to Placemaking
Placemaking is a multi-layered process within which citizens foster active, engaged relationships to the spaces which they inhabit, the landscapes of their lives, and shape those spaces in a way which creates a sense of communal stewardship and lived connection. This is most often accomplished through a creative reclamation of public space: projects which take the form of benches on street corners where neighbors can sit, rest and talk with each other, kiosks on sidewalks where neighbors can post information about local events, needs and resources and street paintings in the public right-of-way that demonstrate to all who pass through that this is a Place: inhabited, known and loved by its residents. In all instances, these projects are undertaken by local communities who come together to discuss what it is they want in their neighborhood – what elements are lacking in the public sphere and how the community can work together with the resources they have to create their own place.
Placemaking touches upon deeper societal issues and contributes to participatory democracy. As the process of developing a community place proceeds; people develop deeper relationships and more energy to create together because they live together. Creating a common ground that transcends the differences among people powerfully addresses this isolation and creates an environment where people feel like they can do anything they set their collective minds to.
Major Elements of Placemaking:
Natural Building: The essence of natural building lies in its inherent emphasis on environmental preservation and social sustainability. Natural building is a method of construction based in using minimally processed, natural materials that are available locally. The techniques for most natural building methods reflect the materials themselves in that they are simple, low-tech and ecologically sustainable. Natural building employs a sense of the human-scale and isn’t dependent on expensive, energy intensive, high-tech equipment. Natural building materials have low toxicity, are low-tech and local, making them great tools for teaching communities the synthesis of building principles in sustainability and social empowerment.
Permaculture: Permaculture is the conscious design of sustainable human settlements. It is also about being local: shepherding the resources that enter a place; keeping them cycling within the “system,” be it backyard, neighborhood, or bioregion; and creating beneficial connections between each part. Community and a sense of place can only be created by the people who dwell together and who have real stake in creating a home.
Public Art: Artwork in our neighborhoods can also create a strong sense of place, whether it is a mural, a sculpture, temporary art such as chalk drawings or functional art pieces like benches or lampposts. Public art presents an opportunity for a neighborhood to tell its history, express local culture and have a fun project for anyone to get involved.
What City Repair Offers
Whether its through personal consultation, presentations, facilitation of community discussions, or project design workshops, we’re committed to empowering you with the knowledge and skills needed to create a beautiful, rich, and sustainable community. We offer our services for free because we love what we do, but your generous contributions are what make this program possible. For more information, or to start the placemaking progress in your neighborhood, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
City Repair offers a variety of presentations to schools, organizations, and communities interested in learning more about Placemaking, City Repair, and how you can make a positive change in your world. Presentations could range from 15 minutes to 3 hours for any size audience. Presenations can be Power Points (or something like them), group discussions, Interactive workshops, or anything in between. Contact us to schedule a presentation!
Community Resource Localization / Asset Mapping
An asset map is an inventory of the strengths and gifts, both tangible and intangible, of the people and places that make up a community. Assets may be people (their gifts, skills and capabilities), physical structures, natural resources, institutions, businesses or informal organizations. Asset mapping documents the resources of the entire community and highlights the interconnections among them, which in turn reveals how to access those assets. Our placemaking guidebook is full of ideas and activities for asset mapping.
Its easy to talk about what Placemaking is, or why it’s a good thing, but how do we actually do it? What do we actually do? The exciting thing is, it’s different for everyone! Every community is different, has a unique vision, and expresses itself it its own way. That’s the beauty and the heart of Placemaking. So while we can’t tell you exactly what you’re community needs to build in order to be awesome, we’ve got a swell team of passionate and experienced Placemakers ready to help you take your dreams from an idea to a reality.
We’ve recently (2013!) started hosting workshops in other cities. Visit our page on Placemaker’s Academy to learn more about our courses, how to host us in your city, and register for existing courses.
What defines your neighborhood? Do you know the people who live in it with you? Intersection Repair helps neighbors convert street intersections into public gathering places – the most essential part of your neighborhood for community building. Read more