How can Placemaking build lasting value that makes a place more vibrant and liveable?
That was the question that REDHA Institution set out dissect at their webinar which featured Imran Clyde, deputy chairperson of Placemaking Malaysia, Datin TPr Hjh Noraida Saludin, president of the Malaysian Institute of Planners, and Michael Stott, expert advisor for the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP).
The combined wealth of experience from the trio provided a valuable trove of insight for participants as they learned about the finer points of placemaking, especially on how this enterprise can help improve the value of the areas that implement it.
“Placemaking is not an outcome, it’s a process,” said Imran as he shared how placemaking is vital in brand and marketing development as it allows city makers and developers an opportunity to build a truly unique sense of identity that cannot be replicated as it draws on the resources that are around that area.
“Placemaking as a process is continuous, and begins with short term experiments, and if data shows a positive outcome, a larger scale measure can then be implemented and improved on, capitalising on the synergy of collaboration with the surrounding communities and community resources.”
Stott shared that placemaking should create joy and that it should focus on leveraging what is immediately around the place or community to help emphasise the best attributes of a place.
“This can be done by focusing on 4 main areas of a place – comfort & image, access & linkages, sociability, as well as uses & activity, which allows city makers to turn spaces into places. This helps build a community that amplifies the messages you are conveying, align your corporate vision and brand with the added benefit of generating a large amount of content that can be documented and shared on social media,” he said.
All three speakers mentioned that the community of the surrounding area is a huge resource when it comes to the measurement of how effective placemaking in an area is, as the input that comes from the surrounding community and stakeholders using interviews and surveys will help identify the aspects of the place most in need of attention.
According to Imran, there is a paucity of information, especially case studies on how various developers implement community building efforts. Noraida shared that all too often, Malaysian developers and local governments tend to use a top-down approach when carrying out their projects – and in the process, often overlook “human scale developments” and what people need to maintain their physical and mental health. This became painfully obvious during the current COVID-19 pandemic, where people were stuck staring at the same four walls due to wide-ranging movement restrictions.
The speakers all showcased various case studies that revealed the benefits that placemaking brought to the surrounding areas. For example, UEM Sunrise’s Publika Shopping Gallery, that puts an emphasis on art & culture and used public art as a medium to get people to come and visit their mall, managed to contribute to an average housing uplift of 4.47% per annum.
The question of “what can we do to help build a shared narrative” of a place will help developers generate interest among prospective residents as it gives them a voice and role in shaping their eventual community. This unique selling proposition can be positive as it is something rarely encountered in both past and present residential and commercial developments, where community building is either given lip service, or not acknowledged from the start.
Placemaker Awards ASEAN 2021 is presented by local placemaking advocates Nextdor Property Communications and Think City, and co-presented by UN-Habitat, European placemaking advocate STIPO, and the Malaysian Institute of Planners (MIP), supported by Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Redha Institute, Placemaking X, Project for Public Spaces, Placemaking Malaysia, PNB Merdeka Ventures, Lendlease, Citi Foundation, and Tempatico, with ISOCARP as official network partner, the ASEAN Post as the regional digital media partner, PR Newswire as the official news distribution partner, and Laguna as the official digital out of home advertising partner.