Placemaking is defined by the Project for Public Spaces as ‘the art of creating public ‘places of the soul’, that uplift and help us connect to each other.’

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Source: pps.org

On a simple scale, we see placemaking 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 placemaking was created organically with local materials and local designs being implemented, a prime example is the little Medieval Italian towns you get lining hilltops. With their little squares and plazas it is easy to navigate and people naturally congregate in these spaces.

These days we have lost the sense of placemaking, particularly in our housing estates. Why do we keep seeing the same residential areas being replicated all around the country? Surely these identical developments to not compliment or even consider the surroundings? And therefore are not fully considering the people using the space when it comes to the design? These faceless estates grow on the outskirts of or urban centres, and really don’t reflect their location. Perhaps as a result of the modernest movement, these buildings with their mass production, could be anywhere.

Simply put, 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.

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Source: youngestreetmedia.ca 

With the increase of online shopping, and housing developments being expanded to the edges of our cities, we are starting to see our city centres struggle. Many areas are left with empty shop units and lack of footfall means struggling business. Maybe an answer to this is using placemaking as a tool to bring life back into our cities, and recreate community spirit. It is proven that well designed landscapes and green spaces in urban environments increase the desirability of an area.

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.