5 Ways Placemaking Creates Timeless Places

5 Ways Placemaking Creates Timeless Places
January 25, 2022 Ricardo Álvarez-Díaz
City park.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Ricardo Álvarez-Díaz is the founder and principal of the architectural firm Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón, with offices in Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Placemaking bridges the gap between people and public spaces.

It is a user-centered approach to the planning, design, and management of public spaces. Using placemaking principles to create quality public places, architects, developers, and urban planners can influence the way people connect to these spaces in the present and in the future.

Here are five ways placemaking creates timeless places:

1. SUSTAINABILITY

Placemaking helps create vital areas in the community such as recreational spaces, parks, nature centers, and other green areas.

These sustainable spaces are responsive to the environment, regenerative, and healthy for communities since their green areas help sequester carbon, clean the air, recycle water, moderate extreme temperatures, as well as restore habitats. Sustainable spaces have long-term benefits for the community and the planet.

2. COMMUNITY BUILDING

Fostering relationships, encouraging social interactions, and involving the community is a big part of the placemaking approach.

Spaces such as community centers, dining rooms, parks and playgrounds, gardens, game courts and meeting rooms, support social gatherings and facilitate the exchange of information among residents. They are fertile ground for growing meaningful relationships and building community resilience.

3. ACCESSIBILITY

Accessibility is needed for people to be able to connect with public spaces. Therefore, placemaking creates places that are walkable, places that public transportation can reach, that are in close proximity to supermarkets, office buildings, restaurants/food vendors, stores, markets, schools, hospitals, etc. With placemaking, people have easy access to businesses and other commercial spaces which helps promote economic growth.

4. HEALTH & HAPPINESS

Places created with the placemaking approach improve people’s health and happiness. This is because they include parks, playgrounds, bike lanes, and other amenities that encourage and increase physical activity. Placemaking enhances the wellbeing and quality of life of city dwellers.

5. DISASTER PREPAREDNESS

Placemaking that allows residents to communicate and interact, helps build potentially life-saving ties.

During a disaster or emergency, a community center can serve as a neighborhood hub where community members can receive critical information, potable water, food, and medical services. People who have strong relationships with each other are more likely to put the time and effort involved in protecting their community from natural and man-made disasters and are also better at getting through the aftermaths with resiliency.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Placemaking focuses on the needs of the people that live, work, and play in a space by using and designing  public spaces in a development or neighborhood to encourage greater social interaction, foster healthier relationships and improve the economic viability of the community.

It transforms disconnected neighbors into booming human and civic networks and creates organized neighborhoods and thriving cities that are both resilient and timeless.

The bottom line is that we cannot build resilient communities without employing good placemaking techniques to design spaces where communities can grow and prosper.

FURTHER READING: 7 INNOVATIVE HOTEL DESIGN TRENDS TO WATCH FOR IN 2022

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