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The Premium of Place Harvesting the Rewards of Creative Placemaking

The Professor

By strange and satisfying serendipity the other day, my opponent in a seniors golf match against another club was someone I’d last met back in the early 1980s when we were both members of what we liked to think was an elite fraternity in the world of real estate development called “Placemakers”. Naturally, we fell to telling tales of yesteryear, and the people who populated the property profession at that time. Those were, of course, the golden years! But it was the term itself that caused some comment. We agreed that the epithet “placemaking” had joined the ranks of similar soubriquets, such as: sustainable development; corporate social responsibility; agile organisation; and resilient city, which, though ultimately profound, had become so capacious as to lose most meaning. Upon reflection, however, and in the afterglow of victory, it is the profundity of placemaking that has been rekindled in me.

The Character

Creative placemaking necessarily comprises the collaborative engagement of public, private, civic and community organisations in shaping strategically the physical, economic, social and functional future character and performance of a significant piece of urban territory. Successful placemaking animates public areas and private spaces; rejuvenates urban structures and landscapes; enriches local business and cultural groups; secures and strengthens neighbourhood safety and security; and, generally brings together diverse communities, companies and concerns to play, produce, profess and prosper. It is not, however, easy to quantify.

The Circumstances

The context for ‘creative placemaking’ seems to be evolving for a variety of reasons.

The Professor

About John Ratcliffe

John Ratcliffe

John Ratcliffe is President of The Futures Academy, which he founded in 2000, and a Fellow of Oxford Brookes University. Until 2009, he was a Director of the Dublin Institute of Technology, where he remains as Professor Emeritus. In the past, he has served as: Secretary-General of the World Futures Studies Federation; Vice-President of the European Futurists Conference; Chairman of the London Branch of the RICS, and first Chair of the Institution’s International Policy Committee; and, Chairman of the European Policy and Practice Committee for the Urban Land Institute. A prolific author and public orator, he has acted as a consultant to countries, cities, corporations, colleges and communities in the area of Strategic Foresight, and is currently conducting several projects in the fields of: “Cities of Tomorrow”; “Future Horizons for Global Real Estate”; and, “Anticipatory Leadership”. Familiarly, his favourite adage is Einstein’s: “Imagination is more important than knowledge”.

Articles by John Ratcliffe

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