Principles and practice of Community Placemaking

February 15, 2019

Welcome and why: In 1999, the Wisconsin Legislature adopted the “Comprehensive Planning Act” which came to be known as the Wisconsin Smart Growth Law. This new legislation, which amended Wisconsin planning laws, called for citizens to be engaged in planning and shaping their communities. Essentially, the law required communities to develop comprehensive plans, consistent with the legislation by 2010. From the time that this law was passed, faculty and staff from the UW-Extension were involved in education about comprehensive planning. Their roles included providing insights into various approaches to comprehensive planning; guiding the design of individual community planning processes; and creating resources that laid out the best practice for developing citizen participation plans, and facilitating involvement techniques.

UW-Extension was also involved in on-demand education about many related topics before and during the process. Consultants and planning departments also provided background information and education to steering committees and community participants. UW-Extension educators considered the community’s level of understanding and knowledge about characteristics and features that help make a community special. What does best practice by scholars, planners and designers suggest are important attributes associated with a quality community?

Purpose of this publication: These resources are intended to provide a basic understanding of key principles of community design and placemaking for local officials, planners, community development professionals and aspiring citizen planners involved with community planning, visioning and community vitality initiatives. It also provides examples for using these principles in community development and planning practice. This publication provides basic guidance for the use of specific methods, techniques and approaches for applying principles of community placemaking in a variety of venues, stakeholder groups and audiences. All of these examples have been tested and used in actual community settings.

Read the full publication here.