Investing in public spaces to make placemaking a value-add

Located in the heart of Phoenix near Arizona State University’s downtown campus, Civic Space is a public park that provides the community with a vibrant amenity and relief from extreme summer temperatures. Using a combination of shade trees and undulating shade structures, the design will shade 70 percent of the site at full maturity. / AECOM / Urban Land


By Kathleen McCormick | Urban Land

At ULI Arizona’s Trends Day in January, panelists talked about how revitalized public spaces—starting with parks and libraries but also including alleys, sidewalks, and roads—are helping make neighborhoods walkable and desirable, drawing from examples in Detroit, Phoenix, Memphis, and Seoul.

“Trend alert: invest outside of the walls you’re building to see huge investments and returns,” said George Roberts, director of public spaces for Quicken Loans Community Fund in Detroit. “Investing in your neighborhood, in parks, streets, alleys, libraries, and places to hang out” was a proven strategy for urban vibrancy, and can become “the game-changer for asset value and the real estate market.


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