Giving Compass' Take:

• Jennifer S. Vey, writing for Brookings, discusses the importance of placemaking and its ability to enhance communities through transformative development. 

• What are the benefits of placemaking in communities? What are the specific challenges that organizations working to transform spaces address when changing a public space?

• Read more about how placemaking works and some examples around the U.S. 

After decades of sprawl and suburban dominance, U.S. cities are experiencing rebounding populations, growing employment, and new public and private sector investments in infrastructure, real estate, and placemaking. Much of this revitalization can been found in downtowns, along waterfronts, and in innovation districts where research institutions and entrepreneurs cluster and connect.

But we know that the benefits from these trends are not equally distributed. Market disruptions—from deindustrialization to automation—coupled with a long history of segregation, physical destruction, and disinvestment, are leaving some places out of the revival.

To help deliver on that imperative, the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program is launching the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking. In collaboration with Project for Public Spaces (PPS), the National Main Street Center (NMSC), and others, the Bass Center will examine the place needs of people and businesses and use that knowledge to help public, private, and civic sectors leaders develop new approaches to creating and supporting concentrations of economic activity that drive inclusive economic growth.

For decades, planners, community development groups, and other place-focused organizations and practitioners have worked to elevate the importance of place and placemaking in fostering more economically, socially, and environmentally responsible development.

Indeed, over the past several decades the Main Street and smart growth movements have helped leaders understand that reinvesting in existing communities is fiscally and ecologically more sustainable than promoting sprawl. The community development field has long engaged in place-based efforts to revitalize distressed urban neighborhoods and better the lives of their residents.

Read the full article about placemaking by Jennifer S. Vey at Brookings