Placemaking is about putting people and their use of the space at the centre of the design; a design that is enjoyable and liveable as well as complementing it’s existing surroundings.

It is a design approach that creates identity, increases collaboration and activities as well as contributing to the identity of a space. People and how they use the space are at the centre of the design.

We see place making within our towns and cities with landmarks and sculptures; these mark out locations that we can use to orientate ourselves. But architecture and design can be taken further. In the past place making was created organically with local materials and local designs such as little squares and plazas that are easy to navigate and where people naturally congregate.

We believe that horticulture also needs to play a role in place making. Well-designed green spaces can add to the sense of place, generating interest during the changing seasons, providing natural landmarks, such as trees as way markers, and creating atmosphere through plants.

Horticulture can be used to create healthier, more active places that are enjoyable to use. More than any other material, plants can offer a link directly to the human psyche, giving an array of benefits including improved mental and psychical health. Humans, like most animals, evolved amongst plants and with other wildlife, and thus we are hard-wired to survive in this environment.

With such innate connections with nature, we cannot ignore horticulture’s value in place-making. Horticulture should be another thread of the complex weave that forms decent places. However, often the green spaces in our cities are less considered than the architectural or planning decisions, usually left as an afterthought, and subsequently poorly designed and poorly maintained. Yet planting that is contemporary, biodiverse and suited to an urban environment can create healthy, welcoming places.

Increased implementation of horticulture into place making can create spaces which are more sustainable and, make people feel more connected and have a sense of pride in their environment. Effective place making is not possible with hard landscaping alone.

For us at Hosta Consulting, we are constantly developing designs and initiatives that will encourage urban dwellers to connect with nature and landscapes. Creating a sense of place gives purpose to an area, and provides a space for people to enjoy. Green infrastructure is key to a sustainable future for our cities.