Placemaking in Atlanta

Placemaking in Atlanta featured image

In 2017, Atlanta’s Department of City Planning decided to create a Placemaking program to empower communities and champion improved streets and streetscapes. Recognizing our national leadership in creative placemaking, they asked us to partner with them to set the program on a successful course and provide expertise to lead the program in future years.

The program encourages residents to imagine creative, enjoyable ways to enhance their neighborhood by creating an attractive, innovative community gathering space. Funding, expert design, and ongoing support will enable communities to transform underutilized streets, parking areas, and public property into active, vibrant, and safer spaces.

Advancing equity
Many of Atlanta’s streets, sidewalks, and rights-of-way were built with only the automobile in mind, making pedestrian and bike use unsafe and unappealing. This program, funded in part by transportation dollars, seeks to change that dynamic at a grassroots level, prioritizing neighborhoods facing significant challenges of unsafe, uninspiring public spaces. By soliciting innovative ideas to enliven these spaces from established neighborhood groups, the program is putting problem solving and support into the hands of those who best understand the public space and will benefit most from the creative placemaking.

How it Works
This program is the first attempt by the City of Atlanta to have a community-focused public placemaking effort. It uses transportation funding for a non-traditional use, specifically targeting areas of highest need and underutilized spaces, to “reshape public spaces to enhance overall physical, cultural, and social identities.” The program will awards grants of $5,000 to $50,000 for individual interventions and projects. Projects may last one day, one week or several years. Grantees will engage with local artists, manufacturers and designers in an effort to transform the community’s vision into reality. We have provided important guidance to establish the program, contributed initial funding to support chosen projects, and will partner with the City to lead the program.

Positive Impact
The Placemaking Program can have a measurable and meaningful on Atlanta through:

  • Empowering citizens to improve their physical surroundings
  • Providing resources to citizens for an attainable, common goal
  • Supporting a culture that values creative and safe gathering places
  • Increasing the aesthetic appeal of underserved neighborhood areas
  • Expanding non-vehicular transportation safety in underserved communities
  • Increasing the number of people within a 10-minute walk of a quality public space

We invite you to join our efforts to partner with Atlanta’s citizens to envision and create imaginative public spaces that enliven our communities.