New Report Documents Benefits of Effective Community Engagement in Design of Public Spaces

On October 23, 2013, the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning released new research that explores the evolution of the urban planning and design of public places toward a process called “placemaking.” Placemaking is an innovative approach to transforming communities by creating and revitalizing open, public spaces around the needs and desires of the community.
The report, Places in the Making, documents how placemaking is relevant and powerful in enhancing quality of life and supporting collaborations that connect people and support local action. The widening emphasis of placemaking beyond the design and use of physical place to include the importance of the “making” process in benefiting people and relationships recognizes the long-term power of nurturing community capacity and local leadership.
One of the key findings of the report is that the community engagement process in placemaking is just as important as the outcomes. The process of organizing, deliberating, communicating, building, programming and maintaining public places has an equally important benefit for communities as the physical outcomes. In short, the “making” of public places builds social capital and enhances community capacity for action and leadership.
The report is  available at

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