What is creative placemaking?

Coined by Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa Nicodemus for the National Endowment for the Arts in 2010, creative placemaking refers to the process in which “partners from public, private, non-profit, and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city, or region around arts and cultural activities.” Creative placemaking advocates believe that community development projects benefit from the participation of artists at the onset of projects, and on the planning and design teams that shape our communities.

In the context of transportation projects, Transportation for America defines creative placemaking as follows:

Creative placemaking harnesses the power of arts and culture to allow for more genuine public engagement — particularly in low-income neighborhoods, communities of color and among immigrant populations — in the development of transportation projects. Forget the traditional, staid public meeting format and instead imagine artists engaging community members using multiple languages to generate meaningful dialogues, capturing their creativity and local knowledge to better inform the ultimate design of the project. Done right, creative placemaking can lead to both a better process and a better product. The end results are streets, sidewalks and public spaces that welcome us, inspire us and move us in every sense of that word.