Placemaking is a great movement which has revived many streets worldwide. Even in India, with the growth of local artists and murals coming around the country, and independent artists making their mark, placemaking is being implemented. There are many ways to re-activate our streets if we think about how we can do so. Paint and colour is a great way to make it happen but also a simple thing like adding chairs or stones where people can sit, can bring people together and make the community more cohesive. Many people are using placemaking around the world to bring people together and not only for that but also to add a bit of difference in the way the place is used. Everyone’s concept of place is different, but if the public space or a place anywhere is made more attractive for people to use, then they are more likely to develop a sense of place.
Here are some tips on how to re-active our streets and public spaces:
- Is the street or public space accessible: Before you are creative about what to do in the place, you need to think about the impact the space can have on people and if it is the right place. Space needs to be cleaned and accessible to people so that they feel comfortable in the space. Think about what is around the space, the way it looks, how it can be improved and make it happen in a unique way that people might enjoy and see the special place for what it is.
- Think of being creative: Think about how you can make your street better looking and more attractive for people. Even adding some colour or painting the steps, for instance, can make the street more vibrant. Adding artworks or making a new pavement can also bring people together. There are many ways we can be creative about our streets if we try to do so, and if you look at previous placemaking projects, you might get some more idea.
- Add some amenities: Amenities such as furniture is one of the main reason people come and sit in a place or explore the place. In Cubbon park for instance in Bangalore, there have been some improvements and placemaking techniques that have been initiated to bring people together. One person just put mats around the trees so that people can picnic around the park. Such creative techniques can add more joy to people and can make them feel more comfortable in the place.
- Make use of greeneries: If the space is clean and green, then it will attract more people. Think about planting more trees or plants in the area, even if they are small plants in the place. People want to walk among the plants and they give us fresh air and improve our breathing. Plants can bring people into the space and it is one amenity that people enjoy being around. It is also simple to create.
- Get some artists to do some work: The best way to be creative and get people into the space is if artists create work in the space. Art catches people’s attention and is known to bring people together. It is one of the most important placemaking techniques to get people together. If the community themselves can add paint or create art in the street then it is even better as the community themselves are being involved in changing the place, so it will have a greater impact. Many artists are increasingly being involved in street art and this can change the nature of the way in which the space is used.
Therefore, it is important to re-activate our public spaces. There are of course many more techniques and ways in which one can restore public spaces including city streets. If you look for placemaking on Google it will give you many more ideas on how to create good public spaces for our cities. It can also create a branding for the city, as many cities around the world have created. It also takes a lot of patience and a challenge to get through the bureaucracy of the city and get the work done. Getting relevant permission from the government etc can take some time so it will require a lot of work but it can really change the nature and scope of your city including tourism activity. I think it is important for the public to reclaim their public spaces and to get people back into their cities.