Placemaking made easy – should Hastings follow this guide?

Placemaking made easy – should Hastings follow this guide?

With £20m to spend over the next ten years, Hastings is one of around 75 towns across the country with an opportunity to put communities in control of significant budgets that might make a real difference to high steeets, through regeneration, safety, and transport interventions.

Broadly speaking this can be put under the umbrella term of ‘placemaking’ – the process of taking control of an area and amplifying it’s positive aspects to create a place people can be p[roud of and want to visit.

This isn’t a new concept – but it is tried and tested…and the Project For Public Spaces has been promoting this approach for many years.

This is a summary of their recommendations:

5 Steps to Making Places

The “5 Steps to Making Places” framework by the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) focuses on creating vibrant public spaces that reflect community needs and aspirations. The steps are:

  1. Define the Place and Identify Stakeholders: This involves understanding the space and engaging those who use it to gather insights (see ‘the power of 10’) and build partnerships.
  2. Evaluate Space and Identify Issues: Through observations and discussions, identify the strengths and weaknesses of the space.
  3. Place Vision: Develop a collective vision that reflects the community’s aspirations for the space.
  4. Short-term Experiments: Implement low-cost, quick interventions to test ideas and gather feedback.
  5. Ongoing Reevaluation and Implementation: Continuously assess and refine the space based on feedback and changing needs【10†source】【11†source】.

Place Game: Community Engagement Tool

The Place Game is a participatory tool designed to engage community members in evaluating and envisioning improvements for public spaces. It involves on-site assessments where participants score the space on various aspects like comfort, access, activities, and sociability. This hands-on approach helps gather diverse perspectives and fosters a sense of ownership among community members. The results guide the development of actionable plans to enhance the space.

Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper (LQC)

The LQC approach advocates for inexpensive, rapid, and flexible interventions to activate public spaces. These interventions include temporary installations, pilot projects, and events that can quickly improve the functionality and appeal of a space. The LQC methodology emphasizes community involvement, allowing residents to directly shape their environment. This approach is particularly useful in revitalizing underutilized spaces and testing ideas before committing to large-scale investments.

Detroiters Work the Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper Regeneration of a Great American City

Detroit’s application of the LQC strategy showcases how small-scale, community-driven projects can spark larger urban regeneration. Examples include the transformation of Campus Martius Park from a traffic island into a vibrant urban park, featuring amenities like a beach, food vendors, and programming. These efforts, supported by partnerships and grants, have helped reenergize public spaces in Detroit, fostering economic development and social cohesion.

Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper Not Enough?

While LQC interventions can jumpstart the revitalization of public spaces, they are not a substitute for long-term, sustainable planning. Successful placemaking requires ongoing investment, comprehensive planning, and community engagement to ensure that improvements are maintained and that spaces evolve with community needs. The LQC approach is a starting point, but it must be integrated into a broader strategy for lasting impact.

For more detailed information on these topics, you can visit the Project for Public Spaces website here.