What Should Inclusive Placemaking Involve?
Can developers create an attachment to place? This might seem like a big ask, since the very notion of an inherent sense of belonging would seem, at face value, to contradict the concept of new development.
RICS has reported that placemaking does add value, based to research from property consultants CBRE. But value for whom?
Placemaking may increase property premiums, but can it address the deeper issue of inclusivity for communities? What would inclusive placemaking involve?
Why Inclusivity Matters
With a growing population and a shortage of housing, will developers be forced to choose between catering for this growth and making room for authenticity?
It is a question of engagement, not just of meeting demand. Successful communities are where people feel engaged with their surroundings. This applies to developments within these communities too.
Placemaking is emotional, and not always logical, in the sense that it is not just a process for developers, but also a process for the people living in these development areas. This experience is what gives an area its sense of authenticity.
Attachment to a place comes from experiences and memories that people value. The space should be the backdrop, against which these things occur, whether that backdrop is a city, a town or a neighbourhood.
Should developers, in theory, be able to create the conditions necessary to allow for such a setting to develop?
It is not about imposing a vision, but enabling something to develop, which is what transforms an area, or regenerates it, putting the community at the heart of it.
One way for developers to do this is by making space for a catalyst.
City or Community?
Independent businesses can be the key to proper placemaking, in the sense that they help drive a sense of belonging from the roots up.
The catalyst might simply be a single business in a new or regenerated development that acts as a focal point for community interaction.
This could be a café, restaurant or shop. Something independent helps stamp a sense of uniqueness on an area, and it becomes proprietorial to the people in it – it is “ours”.
In Manchester city centre regenerations, the presence of some sort of social hub has helped transform once-neglected areas of the city.
Examples include: The Track Brewery’s Taproom, on the third floor of the Crusader Mill residential development; GRUB Manchester at Fairfield Social Club, on Temperance Street, behind Piccadilly train station.
These catalysts are also potentially future-proofing areas, establishing, or re-establishing an inclusive sense of authenticity even if further development occurs around them.
City or community is not a binary choice. Proper, inclusive placemaking can develop both together.
A Place for Branding
Partisan believes in placemaking that helps create inclusive communities. This process should be part of an overall branding strategy for the built environment. This is a strategy that consider making space for a catalyst to encourage a sense of inclusiveness, and build authenticity.
Value is much more than the return on investment from property developments; it is the enduring value of a true sense of place and an attachment to it.
Discover more about the Partisan approach to branding for the built environment. Please, get in touch.