About Placemaking

What is Placemaking?

In short, placemaking is a set of activities carried out in collaboration with local communities that aims to:

  • create vibrant public spaces that are open to a variety of uses and users;
  • developing a place’s identity and incorporating it into the built environment;
  • marking previously unidentified aspects of a place in its built environment;
  • enhance existing spaces to promote the health, well-being, and connectedness of the communities they serve; and
  • build a coherent identity that ties the parts of a place together economically, socially, and culturally.

Placemaking processes align with more traditional land use, economic, and social planning. In Prince George's County, the Section works with other Community Planning sections to implement its projects. The Section’s work is sometimes administrative, sometimes design-focused, sometimes outreach-focused, and often a mix of all three. 

Many different actions are part of placemaking. Some examples from our projects include:

  • Community engagement meetings for residents to contribute ideas and provide feedback;
  • New signs and landmarks to help people navigate;
  • "Branding" places through public art, events, and signage;
  • Events and initiatives to test for uses and encourage activity in public spaces;
  • Redesigning streets and sidewalks for better pedestrian and cyclist experiences; and
  • Measuring the progress of other Planning Department projects against indicators for spatial use and diversity.

All these actions contribute to the goal of creating places which promote health, well-being, and community connections. These projects also contribute to the goals set out in Plan 2035.

Each neighborhood, town, or other place benefits from different actions. The choice of action often reflects the demographics or physical traits of the neighborhood. In other cases, actions reflect priorities - based on what the community or local government want to have in a place. The Section engages in both types of activities.

What is Creative Placemaking?

The Placemaking Section supports "creative placemaking" in Prince George's County. 

This approach uses short-term, low-cost, and small interventions to change places. Successful projects can expanded in or beyond a community. The Section collaborates with agencies and community members to implement community-led projects. These projects, which vary by neighborhood, address specific planning issues. Each initiative is a demonstration that should have immediate impact, and be sustained by the community. Successful projects can be repeated elsewhere or have other long-term impacts.

In each project, the Section considers:

  • the issue to be addressed;
  • who is impacted;
  • whether the community leads or supports the project; and
  • whether the community can manage the project on its own.

In each project, we work with:

  • community residents;
  • local businesses;
  • other Planning Department Sections;
  • County Councilmembers;
  • State and County agencies; and
  • community organizations.

We are working with the Better Block Foundation on placemaking projects across the County. 

Tactical Urbanism Example Hyattsville