You may have heard of a concept called “placemaking.” While it sounds like a trendy, made-up word, it’s actually the definitive foundation of the White Flint Sector Plan. No doubt you’re eager to learn more, so here’s a quick Friends of White Flint primer on placemaking.
According to Wikipedia, placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Placemaking capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well being. According to Friends of White Flint, placemaking is how the physical parts of an area — buildings, parks, paths, etc. — and the people who live, work, and play there create that lovely, warm, fuzzy feeling of community.
Placemaking doesn’t simply toss together a square of green grass, sidewalk cafe, and apartment building and call it a neighborhood. Placemaking creates a Quality Place, a space where, according to Better Cities and Towns, “people, businesses, and institutions want to be. Such places often are alluring; they have pizzazz.”
Placemaking, says the Project for Public Spaces, shows “planners, designers, and engineers how to move beyond their habit of looking at communities through the narrow lens of single-minded goals or rigid professional disciplines. … Experience has shown us that when developers and planners welcome as much grassroots involvement as possible, they spare themselves a lot of headaches. Common problems like traffic-dominated streets, little-used parks, and isolated, under-performing development projects can be avoided by embracing the placemaking perspective that views a place in its entirety, rather than zeroing in on isolated fragments of the whole.”
Isn’t that the true mission of Friends of White Flint? Residents, homeowner associations, businesses, government planners, and developers collaborating to revitalize our community, morphing aging strip malls and acres of asphalt into our home, our place.