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Groundbreaking MIT study on ‘placemaking’

Park in downtown Houston, Texas. (M Glasgow/Flickr/cc)

Placemaking should be about more than the physical realm. The focus should instead be on “creating positive change for people and communities through the transformation of a physical place,” MIT researchers conclude in Places in the Making, a groundbreaking report issued last week.

The analysis highlights successful placemaking efforts, such as in Houston, where a public-private partnership led to creation of a vibrant downtown park for the sprawling, car-dependent city.

The MIT study traces the history of placemaking and references Fred Kent, an early pioneer who in 1975 formed Project for Public Spaces, which continues to champion placemaking worldwide and partners with non-profits, community residents and city officials.

Forbes’ take on the research is that “light, quick and cheap” is the new urban planning mantra.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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