Creative Placemaking

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An introduction to creative placemaking in transportation

Creative Placemaking CoverFor those of you planning, designing and building transportation projects, creative placemaking is an emerging approach that every community should consider, and this primer can help you get started.

America’s cities, towns and suburbs are rapidly changing and evolving, and transportation investments are playing a catalytic role in transforming communities. All too often, however, major transportation projects in populated areas are disruptive to the surrounding community, and frequently disrupt or even displace existing residents and businesses.

The critical transportation projects being planned all over the country right now offer a better opportunity than we’ve experienced in the past to take a more holistic — and humanistic — approach to integrating transportation infrastructure into existing and future communities. There’s an approach that can lead to better projects and better places; that better reflects what makes a community unique, that builds the kind of trust and relationships between the public and the planners that can make it easier to advance these important projects or the funding required to build them.

So what is creative placemaking? In the transportation context, it’s an approach that deeply engages the arts, culture, and creativity, especially from underrepresented communities, in planning and designing projects, so that the resulting communities better reflect and celebrate local culture, heritage and values.

This primer is a survey of the existing wisdom on the issue, translated into a format intended for a transportation-focused audience that will resonate with local leaders, planners, elected officials, business groups and community leaders of all stripes.