Creative Placemaking in Planning

APA is part of a collaboration that is developing planner-friendly tools, vetted by the public art field and APA’s Arts and Planning Interest Group, to increase planners' competencies in working with artists on creative placemaking projects.

Project Overview

Through partnerships and engagement, planners and artists can make a tremendous difference in the quality of the built environment using a variety of creative placemaking skills. However, differing techniques, language, and cultures can be an obstacle for planners and artists working together.

The American Planning Association, Boston's Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), Americans for the Arts (AFTA), and the Townscape Institute are partnering to expand best practices, tools, case studies, and networking opportunities to support partnerships as the two fields learn to work together to develop successful creative placemaking projects. This collaboration will develop planner-friendly tools, vetted by the public art field and APA's Arts and Planning Interest Group, to increase planners' competencies in working with artists.

A draft Research KnowledgeBase resource collection will be available in 2018 and tested in a Boston-area community in a local placemaking project.

The final resource collection and related tools will be available by February 2019.

Building Capacity for Creative Placemaking

This blog post by Patricia Walsh of Americans for the Arts serves an introduction to the project and the four partner organizations. It includes information about each of the three project phases: field survey, on the ground exploration, and field testing and training.

Read more

Related Work

Arts and Planning Interest Group

The Arts and Planning Interest Group (APIG) is a collaborative space for planners and artists who believe that arts and culture is an essential element of what makes places and communities healthy, connected, and vibrant.

Arts & Culture Briefing Papers

As part of a collaborative project with the RMC Corporation and with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, APA's Planning and Community Health Research Center developed a series of briefing papers to illustrate how planners use arts and culture strategies to achieve economic, social, environmental, and community goals. 2011.

Creative Placemaking

This PAS Memo introduces and explores the interdisciplinary field of creative placemaking and the many ways that arts and artists add value to communities and can contribute to planning-related goals. It offers general guidelines for the types of spaces that can encourage more creative output and support local creative ecologies, and it shares methodologies for how to measure success. 2016.

Placemaking on a Budget

This PAS Report offers help for small towns, neighborhoods, and downtowns that need to enhance identity and social connections without spending a lot of money. It discusses how citizens can get involved in identifying the history, culture, and resources that make their community unique. 2006.


This project is made possible by grants by the National Endowment for the Arts and Townscape Institute to APA. APA is partnering with MAPC, AFTA, and Townscape& to draft training tools and resources, develop and oversee a creative placemaking demonstration project, and evaulate and refine the tools and resources before promoting them to the planning community.