Launching the Placemaking Movement!

After decades of shouting over the castle walls, Placemakers had a huge year. For our own part, at the Project for Public Spaces, we marked 2013 with the launch of thePlacemaking Leadership Council, a fundamental new step that we decided to take in order to create a shared, collaborative forum for Placemakers across the world to learn from each other and grow this increasingly vital movement. We’ve met so many incredible people through this new initiative, and we are looking forward to continuing to grow the ranks in 2014. Placemaking is changing the way that cities around the world work, and we’re thrilled to be a part of this movement with you.

Over the past year, Placemakers from PPS have been invited to speak in hundreds of cities, where people are eager for new opportunities to create great places in their communities, from average citizens up to more and more enlightened city officials and private sector partners. We are currently leading some of the most boundary-pushing projects on every continent (Well, except for Antarctica; but it’s only a matter of time!). From the Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper re-imagining of Detroit, to the academy-shaking success of the Harvard Common Spaces program, to our work with JUCCCE to shape the new China Dream around Placemaking principles, to the widespread adoption of Place Governance principles in Adelaide, Australia, Placemaking is turning things upside-down on every corner of the globe.

This year saw the development of several key partnerships that would have been impossible to imagine just a few years ago. We’re thrilled to be working with Southwest Airlines, which has become the first major corporation to see the potential for Placemaking to become a powerful new social movement, declaring that “Placemaking is a social movement that needs to reach the mainstream.” We also had the related opportunity to work with researchers at MIT as they shaped the Southwest-funded white paper Places in the Making, which made an enlightened case for Placemaking from within academia. This work grew out of the formation Placemaking Leadership Council, which has helped to shape the research, and is now preparing to work on the development of a Placemaking curriculum as the need for well-trained Placemaking facilitators and place managers grows more apparent.

The coming year will see a number of conferences organized in partnership with theAx:son Johnson Foundation and UN-HABITAT, to build on the success of the initial Future of Places conference this past spring. We will be traveling to Buenos Aires, Adelaide, and other cities to work with local place leaders to shape this global agenda. In addition to the Future of Places and the Placemaking Leadership Council, 2014 will also see PPS taking action in the movement to re-think Streets As Places, as the Pro Walk/Pro Bike: Pro Place conference, one of the world’s largest gatherings of active transportation advocates, rolls into Pittsburgh, PA, this coming September.

But as important as this work is, we are looking to you, the Placemakers who are out working to make your communities better places every day, to help us grow Placemaking from a sacred community practice into a global movement.

Here are Six Ways You Can Get Involved

  1. Join our email list to receive updates on Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place in Pittsburgh
  2. Attend one of our spring trainings in New York.  Watch our website for other upcoming events.
  3. Become a sponsor for one of our important 2014 conference and meetings.
  4. Apply to join the Placemaking Leadership Council, and join over 500 passionate advocates for place.
  5. Make a financial contribution to the Project for Public Spaces to support our work in communities around the world.
  6. Work with us on a project in your community.  Contact Emily Ball to discuss our services and experience on all kinds of Placemaking projects.

We invite people from all corners of the earth to come to be part of our growing experience and agendas!

Last year, we suggested that 2013 would be the “Year of the Zealous Nut.” Through the work that you’ve done and the things that we have all achieved together as our movement has coalesced and grown, that prediction has come true. Let’s make 2014 even better.



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