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Placemaking Library

Below you will find academic papers and news articles that provide in-depth information on placemaking best-practices. These are some of the resources Placemaking Indiana has used for education and inspiration, but this is in no way an exhaustive collection and will continue to grow over time. Please feel free to further research the placemaking topics that interest you most. If you need any help finding the information you are looking for, you can contact Carmen Lethig, Placemaking Manager at clethig@ihcda.in.gov.

Table of Contents

Beginner's Guide to Placemaking
Arts and Creative Placemaking
Asset Mapping Parks, Plazas and Other Public Spaces
Plans and Long-Term Placemaking
Reusing Existing Buildings
Small Town and Downtown Redevelopment
Streets, Sidewalks and Bike Friendly Placemaking
Supporting Local and Small Business
Tactical Placemaking
Placemaking Blogs and Websites

Beginner's Guide to Placemaking

A Guide to Neighborhood Placemaking in Chicago
Gives an overview of neighborhood placemaking and steps communities can take to improve their public spaces.

Above PAR: Planning for Placemaking, Access and Redevelopment Guidebook 2013
Uses two Michigan towns as examples of how communities can create quality places that connect access, places and redevelopment with health and equity in planning.

Placemaking for REALTOR Associations: A Guide to Transform Public Spaces to Community Places
Provides examples of placemaking strategies large and small that communities can use to improve public spaces.

Places in the Making: How placemaking builds places and communities
Provides an historical review of placemaking and modern examples of placemaking projects in major urban centers across the country.

Arts and Creative Placemaking

APA Arts and Culture Briefing: Community Engagement
Provides examples of how arts and culture tools can be used to engage local residents in community planning efforts.

Creative Placemaking
Builds a case for including creative placemaking in town planning efforts, in order to serve livability, diversity and economic development goals.

Asset Mapping

A Guide to Mapping Neighborhood Arts and Cultural Assets
Gives suggestions for engaging residents in cultural asset mapping.

Asset Mapping: A Guidebook
Provides an overview of three approaches for community asset planning.

Cultural Mapping Toolkit
Lists detailed steps on how to implement cultural mapping.

Parks, Plazas and Other Public Spaces

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs
A Blog post that summarizes guidelines from the Project for Public Spaces for public signage, including suggestions for specific types, uses and designs.

Detroit Vacant Lots Make Room for Green Stormwater Design
A News article about the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and the Detroit Land Bank Authority teaming up to create stormwater retention gardens on vacant and blighted properties. 

Columbus Proves Parklets Don’t Have to Be Perfect
A News article about Transit Columbus and its program Open Streets, through which temporary parks, or parklets, are installed on the streets of Columbus, Ohio.

Plans and Long-Term Placemaking

City of Adelaide: Placemaking Strategy
Presents a great example of a small city’s Placemaking Plan, from Adelaide Australia.

Great Places 2020 Planning Guidebook
Provides a blueprint for how Indianapolis neighborhoods can be made into “urban villages,” where people want to live, work and play.

How to Build Inclusive Cities
A News article about the Inclusive Growth in Cities Campaign and steps cities and towns can take to make sure all residents can benefit from growth and development.

Reusing Existing Buildings

Asset-Based Economic Development and Building Sustainable Rural Communities: Existing Infrastructure, Historic and Cultural Resources
Lists examples of assets that small towns can leverage to support economic development, as well as examples of small towns that have successfully used their unique assets to grow and prosper.

Older, Smaller, Better: Measuring how the character of buildings and blocks influences urban vitality
Argues for the cultural and economic value of retaining small buildings for commercial and residential uses in towns and cities.

Small Town and Downtown Redevelopment

Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Rural Planning, Zoning, and Development Codes
Presents smart growth solutions for ten modern issues facing small and rural communities, particularly issues related to zoning, infrastructure and density.

How Small Towns and Cities Can Use Local Assets to Rebuild their Economies: Lessons from Successful Places
Provides summaries of how six small towns and cities are using their existing assets and distinctive resources to rebuild their economies and recruit new talent.

(Re)Building Downtown: A Guidebook for Revitalization
Uses the Smart Growth America’s seven steps for downtown redevelopment to show planners, elected officials and other stakeholders how their downtowns can become resilient and vibrant places.

Smart Growth Network: Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities
Demonstrates how small and rural communities can use smart growth strategies to benefit the community, the environment, the economy and public health.

The Smart Rural Community
Explains the many way that broadband infrastructure can improve life in small towns, and gives specific examples of communities and service providers across the country using broadband technology in innovative ways.

Baby Boomer and Rural Housing Trends (Minnesota)
A Blog post from Minnesota that outlines the importance of meeting the needs of baby boomers in small towns.

Strong Towns: 3 Steps to Make Your Hometown More Lovable 
A Blog post about the steps community members can take to transform their town or city into the place where they want to live, rather than the place where they have to live.

It's time for a new narrative about Greater Minnesota 
A News article about how rural Minnesota is experiencing a “brain gain” rather than a “brain drain,” and the steps small towns are taking to support that population growth.

The Death - and Life - of Small Downtown America 
A News article about the disinvestment and decline of downtowns, and how small towns can use their existing assets to revitalize their main street commercial centers.

Streets, Sidewalks and Bike Friendly Placemaking

APA Presentation on Complete Streets: From Concept to Adoption
Gives an overview of the Complete Streets concept, which involves making streets “safe, comfortable, and convenient for travel via auto, foot, bicycle and transit.”

Quick Builds for Better Streets: A New Project Delivery Model for U.S. Cities
Provides a blueprint (with case studies) for cities interested in modifying their streets to be safer for walking, biking and driving.

Eyes on the Street: This Year’s First “Street Seats” Have Begun to Sprout
A News article about Street Seats, a program in New York City that takes over parking spaces to provide temporary seating during the summer months.

Supporting Local and Small Businesses

New Dream Community Action Kit: Guide to Going Local
Presents a case for supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs and provides action ideas for how to do so.

Pop-Ups: A Temporary Approach to Revitalization
Provides examples of different pop-ups and how they can be used to support entrepreneurship, engage citizens and activate spaces.

Is Free Rent Enough to Jumpstart a Sleepy Commercial District?
A news article about an innovative program in Birmingham, Alabama in which local business owners ran a contest that awarded six months of free rent to a new business with a plan to occupy a vacant building in the Avondale neighborhood.

Tactical Placemaking 

Tactical Urbanism 2: Short-Term Action, Long-Term Change 
Argues for the value of small and temporary changes to the built environment and provides over 20 examples of projects from across the country.

Strong Towns: Small Bets (New Jersey)
A Blog post about the small and temporary changes Hoboken is making to its streets and sidewalks to make them more useable and attractive to residents and visitors.

Reimagining Hennepin Avenue (Minnesota)
A Blog post about a program in Minneapolis, MN that temporarily activates five blocks of Hennepin Avenue every Thursday, using arts and cultural programming.

Placemaking Blogs and Websites

Project for Public Spaces

National Association of Realtors: Spaces to Places

Big Car

Small Biz Survival: The Small Town and Rural Business Resource

Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design

Center for Small Towns: Voices from Rural Minnesota


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