Placemaking Assessment Tool

April 15, 2015
by Land Policy Institute

Download Tool

The Land Policy Institute has released a Placemaking Assessment Tool (PAT) that will continue to help communities develop quality places that are attractive and functional in Michigan. This tool is a deliverable from LPI in partnership with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. The purpose of placemaking is to create quality places where people want to live, work, play, learn and visit. Effective placemaking creates or restores a higher quality living environment in key parts of a community through urban development or redevelopment and provides a wider range of living, transportation, entertainment, recreation and related options to existing and new residents in (and visitors to) communities.

The purpose of the Placemaking Assessment Tool is to help:

  1. Neighborhoods and communities understand the scope of what might be involved in different types of placemaking and which is the right one for their respective community.
  2. Communities think about placemaking in the context of larger efforts of strategic planning for the community and region. Placemaking is a vital part of strategic planning for economic development.
  3. Neighborhoods and communities determine their capacity to do effective Placemaking at the present time, and determine what to do to become more effective in the future.

The Placemaking Assessment Tool is divided into five parts as listed below:

  1. Introduction and Background: The first part explains the purpose of the PAT and how to use it, along with significant background information on four different types of placemaking (Standard, Strategic, Creative and Tactical). Each of these types are defined and explored in the PAT as they pertain to individual communities. The tool will help communities determine which type of placemaking would be most beneficial for their urban areas.
  2. Short Assessment for Standard, Creative and Tactical Placemaking: The second part presents a short assessment tool with a series of questions to answer “yes” or “no” for Tactical, Creative and Standard Placemaking and is tailored to those who are eager to dive in and get started.
  3. Strategic Placemaking Assessment: The third part presents a longer assessment tool (“yes” and “no” questions) for use in planning and executing Strategic Placemaking which is designed to achieve specific economic development purposes—notably talent attraction and retention.
  4. Improving Your Community’s Chances for Effective Placemaking: The fourth part is particularly for staff of local planning, community development and economic development offices. It is longer and asks more difficult questions about how ready the community is for successful implementation of placemaking in general and in particular for Strategic Placemaking. These self-assessment questions are designed to identify the places where a community may run into barriers that get in the way of effective placemaking. These barriers are largely anticipatable and hence can be overcome if carefully considered before beginning a placemaking planning process.
  5. Additional Resources: The fifth part is a list of resources that may be of value to provide greater depth of understanding of placemaking and related techniques. It also includes a glossary of common terms used in placemaking.

The tool was created for use by planners, local governments, elected officials, neighborhood associations, civic organizations, consultants, etc.

Placemaking involves government, the business community, stakeholders and citizens. The interplay of all these participants along with the PAT will help guide communities to create quality places across Michigan.

For more information on placemaking in Michigan, visit the MIplace Partnership Initiative.