Hello! Now that I have got your attention and you have opened this article, please share your thoughts and comments!

I am Swara and I have recently joined FoddyConsult as a Graduate Planner. I am really pleased to have secured this position as the practice will give me a great introduction to the world of development planning. Coming from an academic background of Planning and Urban Design at Oxford Brookes University, the topic placemaking is something that I get really excited about only because it is one of the few topics that can be tackled by a planner and an urban designer through various interlinked skill-sets. Planners often contribute to placemaking through the creation of more prosperous and inclusive communities, while designers often take these guidelines from a planning perspective and design a space that meets the requirements of creating a better place.

It is also clear to me that placemaking is an extremely important part of planning for any development project. It ensures that schemes are delivered of a good quality, that people can identify with and which they want to use and visit. This is great news as it also helps to crystalize value. A greater attention to placemaking should also give your developments the edge over your competitors as your customers/clients will almost certainly prefer your scheme to others. This may also give you an opportunity to secure improved tenant occupancy levels and hopefully improve rents. A win-win all round!

Placemaking can be community driven, adaptable and focused on creating destinations which help connect people and places on a human scale while providing a range of economic, social and environmental benefits. I would also say that placemaking can be a developer’s initiative as the benefits are clear as I have suggested above.

A high quality public environment brings socio-economic impacts through an increase in property prices, creating positive impacts on businesses and by encouraging a healthier lifestyle by promoting walking and use of public transport. This adds a social dimension to the place as it encourages communities to come together and engage in activities. This often helps create a positive environment throughout the place while giving a sense of place-identity.

However, these are just my thoughts. What are your thoughts about place making and how planners can help create a better place?  Can planners lead placemaking to set out guidelines for designers to deliver better communities and places for our future selves and generations to come?

Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments.

Swara Shah

Graduate Planner