Ideas for Using a Placemaking Grant

The following projects help create new outdoor public gathering places. Use these ideas for inspiration and visit the Spaces to Places blog for more projects and ideas. In addition, review the Placemaking Guide for REALTOR® Associations for practical tips on conducting a successful activity. If you have an idea but are not sure if it is eligible for a grant, contact Catherine Mesick at 202-383-7512.

Level 1 – Placemaking Grant Ideas (Temporary)

Temporary & pop-up parks, pocket parks and parklets: Create a small green space composed of temporary greenery, plantings, and landscaping. Add in seating and artwork.

Temporary & pop-up pedestrian plazas: Design and implement an area with seating, street painting, and a colorful barrier of planters or art to create a safe space for pedestrians to gather near public transit, in a closed-off street, or in the space under an overpass.

Temporary & pop-up bike lanes: Use colorful temporary tape or street paint to create lanes for cyclists along streets and roads.

Level 2 – Placemaking Grant Ideas (Permanent)

Parks, pocket parks, and parklets: Create a park (a large public area in a town or city used for recreation), a pocket park (a small park, often in an urban area) or a parklet (a tiny park made from a former street parking space). Include multiple amenities, such as seating and artwork, in addition to the greenery.

Dog parks: Create a recreational green space for the canines in the community. Include multiple amenities, such as benches, artwork, landscaping, or a walking path, so that residents without four-footed friends can enjoy the space.

Community and Public Gardens: Create a community garden (a piece of land gardened or cultivated by the residents of the community) or a public garden (a garden or collection of plants maintained for the purposes of public education and enjoyment). Once again, be sure to include multiple amenities, such as seating or artwork, to enhance the experience of using the gathering place.

Playgrounds and fitness areas: Create a playground (an outdoor area for children to play in) or fitness area (an outdoor area designated for exercise and physical wellness activities) Include multiple amenities (seating, artwork, greenery or landscaping) so that residents without children and people with limited mobility can also enjoy the space.

Trails and Trailheads: Create a hiking trail or pedestrian footpath through an established public park or through a previously unused plot of public land. Or create a small park at a trailhead (the spot where the trail begins). Ideal amenities for a trailhead include seating, greenery, artwork, and a bike-filling station or bike rack.

Alley Activations: Convert an alley or a portion of an alley into a public gathering place through the addition of seating, artwork, plantings and greenery, shade screens and lighting. An alley activation can be an ideal place for pop-up businesses and community events.

Pedestrian Plazas: Create a small area adjoining a sidewalk, intersection, or a transit stop that provides a place for pedestrians to sit, stand or rest. Seating, tables, shade, lighting, and planters are all excellent amenities for pedestrian plazas.

Downtown Gathering Places: Create a new public gathering place in your town or city’s downtown area to help highlight local businesses and create foot traffic. Give the gathering place a name that has meaning for your community and host special events, entertainment offerings (live music, free movies, a dance exhibition, etc.), street fairs, or arts and crafts shows. Include seating, tables, lighting, shade, public art, a water feature, etc. Solicit public input to help create a space that represents your community and fosters investment and revitalization.