photo by the Herald Halifax

Breathing life into public spaces

With a dedicated group of citizens we began this process and co-designed a mural painting for the intersection of Northwood Terrace and Black Street in 2011. We piloted the project in partnership with the Halifax Municipality and with the support of the 4Cs Foundation. Together this made it possible to develop placemaking as a pilot municipal program. After our second placemaking project in 2013-14, the city now supports multiple community groups in different neighbourhoods to do Placemaking projects each year. Here is a link to their program.

The Concept //

Placemaking is a community-led conversion of a public space into a unique and inviting place.

Streets are usually the only public space we have in our neighborhoods. But almost all of them have been designed with a single purpose in mind: moving cars around. Through placemaking that public space is reclaimed for the whole community. The intersection of pathways becomes a place for people to come together. The SPACE becomes a PLACE – a public square.

Process // 

Over the course of many months the neighbourhood gathered together, made door to door invitations, hosted sessions at seniors homes, schools, and community centres to listen to stories.  By awakening an appreciation of  what is, we unearthed a sense of possibility and then collaboratively designed a representation of who we are.  Finally, there was a day of celebration where the community worked together to paint this representation as a huge mural on the street and shared food, music, dance, and stories.

 Outcomes //

Through the cooperative process of re-inventing and re-invigorating a common space placemaking builds the fabric of community.   Over the course of this 7 month process the neighbourhood gets to know each other, discovering each other’s gifts and developing the human, social, cultural, and built capital. Through this process we reclaim not only the physical realm and aesthetic attraction but the belief that we can build and transform communities. The experience awakens citizens to view themselves as powerful agents of change with the ideas and resources needed to positively transform their neighbourhood.

The creative transformation of space is an expression of local culture that develops lived connections between neighbours of all ages and backgrounds.

Big thanks //

The Placemaking Halifax event is supported by the HRM Community Arts program (http://halifax.ca/culture/) and by a community arts grant from the 4Cs Foundation (http://www.4csfoundation.com/).

Check out our Blog for photos and videos and more info from placemaking events.