Inventive City Placemaking

City placemaking is the art and design of creating public spaces and is often driven by community projects. Whether that’s through decorative art installations, creating expansive natural spaces or recreational areas to house events and hospitality, there are many inventive schemes across the world dedicated to improving urban areas for a better future

Agueda, Portugal – Umbrella Sky Project

This project started as part of the well-known Ágitagueda Art Festival in Portugal. The Umbrella Sky Project seeks to provide shade for pedestrians during the hot summer months, as well as add a different level (literally!) of artistic decoration and intrigue. The umbrellas create a geometric pattern above and are not just great and colourful to look at but also provide a truly functional purpose.

Mexico – ISAD Fountain Spa

Repurposing a broken water fountain was the idea behind this community project to make better use of an underused municipal space. Led by students from the Institute of Architecture and Design Chihuahua in Mexico, scaffolding, fabric and wooden boards have been used to create resting spaces around the water feature – allowing temporary communal space for people to meet, relax and bathe in the water.

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Pittsburgh, USA – City of Asylum

The City of Asylum is proof that good city placemaking can have a truly worldwide outlook and a genuine social benefit. This scheme was founded in Pittsburgh, USA, to turn empty, forgotten city spaces into homes for writers who for whatever reason have been exiled from their home countries. The result is a stunning display of multi-national community – the space provides free rent and helps support inhabitants with employment, publishing and creative teaching opportunities.


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San Francisco, USA – Proxy

Another good example of what community ambition and thoughtful placemaking can achieve in abandoned and disused areas, Proxy is a series of temporary pop up spaces in San Francisco built in the empty space left by a building demolition and a failed housing scheme. Architects Envelope A+D set about creating a public environment to be enjoyed by all, and plans are now in place to expand this to include an outdoor cinema and further retail and hospitality vendors.

Janet Echelman Aerial Sculpture – Boston Greenway

City Placemaking projects can work for social good and to bring people together, but they can also wow, impress and inspire depending on the mediums, materials and structures used. This example suspended 600 feet in the air sits where an elevated highway once used to divide the city from its waterfront. This part of the city has now been reclaimed for pedestrianised public use, the sculpture sitting above a park that provides the perfect vantage point to view the artwork.

For more information, visit creative placemaking on Pinterest, or to discuss your project and the expertise Base Structures can bring to realise your vision, contact us for an informal discussion.

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