Creative Placemaking

What is Creative Placemaking?
Five Components of Creative Placemaking
Creative Placemaking Strategies
Articles and information

updated 6-5-21

What is Creative Placemaking?  There’s no single definition, but here are some ways to think about the issue:

  • the arts improving the quality of a place through social offerings and aesthetics that positively impact that place’s people, activities, and values…community planning and development that is human-centric, comprehensive, and locally informed (ArtPlace America)
  • getting artists and designers, community culture groups, arts research groups, cultural affairs offices, and arts organizations out of their silos and into the neighborhoods and regions around them (National Endowment for the Arts)
  • the leveraging of cultural assets to strengthen the social fabric of a community (Artspace)
  • As both an overarching idea and a hands-on approach for improving a neighborhood, city, or region, placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. Strengthening the connection between people and the places they share, Placemaking refers to a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value.  More than just promoting better urban design, Placemaking facilitates creative patterns of use, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution. (Partners for Public Spaces)

More on What is Creative Placemaking?

Five Components of Creative Placemaking

1. The work needs to be ultimately place-based, meaning that there is a group of people who live and work in the same place. It can be a block, a neighborhood, a town, a city, or a region, but you need to be able to draw a circle around it on a map.

2. Concern for community conditions for everyone who lives in that place, with identification of community development changes to benefit all.

3. How can artists, creative entrepreneurs, arts organizations, and arts activity help move forward the change that has been articulated for this group of people?

4. Evaluation: how do you know that change has happened?

5. Repeat, adapt, collaborate, and persist.

Creative Placemaking Strategies for Success

  • Focus on community assets – human, financial, social, economic, educational
  • Focus on a diverse mix of opportunities and access to the arts for all
  • Proclaim investment in the arts as part of civic agenda
  • Inventory arts and cultural assets
  • Support investment in arts infrastructure
  • Arts education is key
  • A creative place is built and nurtured through a great quality of life: investment in downtown revitalization projects, affordable housing, community engagement, vibrant street life.
  • Persistence, patience, optimism, and a sense of humor will go a long way to keep actions moving forward.  Community development and systems change is not a lineal, smooth, or finite process.


Articles, videos, and information

Wisconsin creative placemaking programs, projects and plans (continually updated):