Why is Placemaking a Part of Economic Development?

Placemaking is an economic development strategy that utilizes a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well-being. All of these factors are crucial to an area’s economic growth. 

Furthermore, 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. 

These processes can be implemented in various places, such as an entire downtown district or a single neighborhood, to improve the local quality of life. Successful placemaking strategy inherently attracts new talent and industry.

Downtown Glens Falls with Arts District banner

Photo of Downtown Glens Falls, courtesy of Advokate

Through these newcomers, the community gains the potential to increase economic competitiveness by creating jobs to retain these talented workers, which in turn will create a growing tax base and tax revenues that can support the growth of urban services. Increasing these services and bringing in new residents and visitors also makes communities more attractive for developers, since they are more likely to have a higher return on their investment. Plus, the increased activity in the area creates an environment that is more favorable for new businesses to open.

The specific things that make a city a great place to live vary from person to person, but there are some key overarching cornerstones to any great city:

  • It must be open to anyone.
  • It has something for everybody.
  • It can attract and maintain demand.
  • It needs a framework for urbanization, to allow for surrounding development.
  • It needs to be a sustainable, livable environment.
  •  It needs to nurture a civil society.

Placemaking is where a community takes the steps to transform into a successful urban environment that can cultivate exponential growth. 

There is an excellent infographic on pps.org (Project for Public Spaces) that explains this in a visual way:

What makes a great place?

Source: https://www.pps.org/article/what-is-placemaking

Ideas for placemaking in a community:

  • Create squares and parks as multi-use destinations
  • Build local economies through markets
  • Create a comprehensive public space agenda
  • Connect to public health and wellbeing
  • Improve streets as places

Examples of successful placemaking in Warren County include, but are not limited to: Lake George Village, the Downtown Glens Falls Revitalization Initiative, the First Wilderness Heritage Corridor, the Warren County Letterboxing Initiative, the Adirondack Craft Beverage Trail, the Adirondacks Welcome Center, and the works of local organizations such as EDC Warren County, Glens Falls Collaborative, Glens Falls Business Improvement District, the Hyde Collection, the Wood Theater and the Park Theater, Visit Gore Region, Glens Falls Living, the Glens Falls Arts District, and our various municipalities and chambers of commerce working together for a regional benefit. 

View of Canada Street in Lake George

Photo of Lake George Village courtesy of Wikipedia.org