Category Archives: Placemaking

  • UN Habitat and Minecraft teamed up to create Block by Block, a community participation tool allowing residents in underserved communities to play minecraft and create project proposals that reconstruct unused public space in their communities.

Placemaking places people at the heart of its process—empowering individuals by giving them an active voice in shaping the spaces around them, mapping and designing their own communities. This week, we’re highlighting a few fascinating placemaking projects from around the globe that illustrate the beauty of people coming together and creating a shared vision for their community.

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Summer has long been synonymous with outdoor concerts across the country. A simple search for “free outdoor concerts” yields hundreds of thousands of results coast to coast. Each year brings an increasing number of opportunities to experience free, live music in outdoor settings—from single concerts centered around a specific celebration like the annual Memorial Day Concert on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.; to coordinated events like Make Music Day, when dozens of U.S. cities celebrate the summer solstice through free music performances; to weekly concert series like Summerstage in parks throughout New York City and free Levitt concerts in towns and cities across America.

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Do you get together with your neighbors on a regular basis? If the answer is no, you’re not alone—according to a 2015 study, only 20 percent of Americans regularly spend time with their neighbors, and a third of the country’s population has never interacted with neighbors. At Levitt, we always encourage people to get to know one another, whether that’s through enjoying free concerts together or through other kinds of community-building activities.

That’s why we love the idea behind Neighborday, a holiday devised seven years ago by media company GOOD to inspire Americans to reach out to folks living next door and plan a communal activity. A block party is one idea, but GOOD offers several other creative ways to forge friendships and build community pride within our neighborhoods. Here are four activities that you and your neighbors can put together just in time for Neighborday on April 29!

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With the onset of spring on the horizon, fresh starts and new beginnings are on the mind. Today we’re turning our attention to abandoned railroad tracks around the globe that have been given new life as the cornerstones of urban parks.

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What better way for a work of art to reach the most people than through being free to view, open to the public and in an open-air setting? Many cities recognize the value of creating murals throughout their neighborhoods, engaging residents in art-making and boosting community pride during the process. It’s also an inexpensive creative placemaking option that works with the landscape already in place—all it needs is some creativity and paint.

With inspiration drawn from their surrounding communities, murals can vividly depict motivations and aspirations of the artists and community members who created them, as well as provide enjoyment for people simply viewing them. Take a look at some of these inspiring murals adorning Levitt cities across the country! Continue reading

  • Quebec Winter Carnival in Quebec, Canada. Photo: Jamie McCaffrey

Many people think of winter as a time to bundle up in front of the fireplace, pop in a favorite holiday record and sip a cup of hot chocolate indoors. Public squares and streets all over the world, however, are bringing people out of their homes—even in freezing temperatures—through creative placemaking. Whether it’s by hosting an ice-skating rink, setting up an annual holiday market, or illuminating buildings with festive light displays, placemaking during the cold season draws residents and visitors alike outside to enjoy the winter ambience. That’s why, even in cities known for their snowy seasons and frigid air, you’ll find public outdoor spaces alive with activity.

Check out these real-life winter wonderlands in the slideshow above, and tell us about your favorite outdoor public spaces to visit during the winter!

Using Levitt music venues as case studies, research examines value of different impact measurement approaches and offers insights into arts-based strategies to promote social connectivity

As interest in measuring and understanding the impact of arts investments in community development continues to grow, a new study released in November, Setting the Stage for Community Change: Reflecting on Creative Placemaking Outcomes, offers insights for the field of “creative placemaking” and is a working illustration of what can and can’t be learned from different impact measurement approaches.  Continue reading

Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles, before and after Agence TER’s proposed redesign

Right here in the backyard of our Los Angeles office, we’re looking forward to some exciting changes in one of downtown’s most iconic public spaces—Pershing Square!

Situated in the heart of downtown’s core, this central, accessible and sprawling five-acre park has the potential to become a vibrant hub of downtown community life. With renewed energy and interest growing in downtown Los Angeles, the 150-year old Pershing Square has been identified as a public space that’s ripe for activation. Continue reading

Cyclists ride through Houston on Mother’s Day for CycloFemme, one of the city’s Bike Month events

Cyclists ride through Houston on Mother’s Day for CycloFemme, one of the city’s Bike Month events

Across the country, people are keeping fit, saving time and exploring their local communities by biking! May is National Bike Month and to celebrate, numerous cities and bicycling advocacy organizations are hosting events, encouraging community members to ride the streets. Here are some events that are happening in cities with permanent or developing Levitt venue to keep bikers at all experience levels moving!  Continue reading

Change embodies creative placemaking focus for Foundation

Last month, we announced some exciting news—the work of our national nonprofit, Levitt Pavilions, will be carried out by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation going forward, furthering our mission to strengthen communities across the country through free, live music.

Since 2005, the Levitt Foundation has awarded more than $20 million to its nonprofit partners and grantees to support free concerts in communities large and small. As Liz Levitt Hirsch, president of the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, explained, “This exciting change signals our resolve to direct the majority of the Foundation’s philanthropy towards creative placemaking programs that focus on free concerts in public spaces. With funding now geared to one main cause, it made sense to place the operations of our national organization under one roof and to function as the Levitt Foundation, thus sunsetting Levitt Pavilions.” Continue reading