A Glossary of Place

  • Place management: An emerging term for the various organizations in the public and private sectors that are responsible for ensuring the quality of a variety of places. Rather than placemaking (below), or placekeeping, which mitigates the effects of gentrification, place management takes a longer-term, comprehensive approach to the overall quality of place.

  • Placemaking: Placemaking describes an approach to enhancing public space by introducing multiple, user-centered activities. Usually community-driven, the process emphasizes rapid activation, rather than long-term physical change typical of traditional capital improvement projects

  • Creative placemaking: As above, but by actively engaging creative professionals in the process, from concept to implementation and stewardship.

  • Tactical urbanism: An approach to project delivery that emphasizes fast, low-cost, and community-driven solutions. Often used as a tool to envision and prototype longer-term transformation, or to catalyze responses from institutions of power, such as real estate investment or zoning change.

  • Social infrastructure: Coined by sociologist Eric Klinenberg, social infrastructure refers to the physical spaces, places, and structures that support and shape social interactions. “When social infrastructure is robust, it ... turns community from a vague, fuzzy concept into a lived experience.”

  • Public realm: Resources, amenities, and spaces held in public trust for common use. The public realm includes the spaces typically referred to as “public space,” including plazas, squares, and parks. But it also comprises streets, sidewalks, and shared resources such as libraries, schools, and recreation centers.