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Making Places Great

A common misconception about creating appealing public spaces is that it is all about physical design. Even the most thoughtfully designed public spaces can fail to provide much value if they are not actively maintained, managed, and programmed. Placemaking, simply defined, is about enhancing the overall experience that people have when they are in a space. While this can seem somewhat nebulous, one of the major thought leaders in this area, Project for Public Spaces, has developed a useful tool that effectively breaks it down into four key elements that make for a great place.

PPS Great Place Diagram

“In evaluating thousands of public spaces around the world, PPS has found that to be successful, they generally share the following four qualities:

  • they are accessible;
  • people are engaged in activities there;
  • the space is comfortable and has a good image;
  • and finally, it is a sociable place: one where people meet each other and take people when they come to visit. “
Project for Public Spaces, What Makes A Successful Place
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While each of these qualities can be somewhat subjective, they provide some useful context through which to consider placemaking efforts.