Placemaking as a Core Economic Development Strategy

Placemaking is really a workforce development strategy to retain and attract the best talent by improving the quality of life of where those workers will live, work and play whether it is through attractive taxing policies or green spaces and trail systems. The International Economic Development Council has defined placemaking as “the practice of enhancing a community’s assets to improve its overall attractiveness and livability.[i]”  As workplace dynamics shift and employees adapt to new work environments, where talent wants to live trumps where talent needs to live. This new frontier challenges communities to:

  • Assess Overall Quality of Life Attributes. Placemaking and a community’s Quality of Life Index is playing a more dominant role in the corporate site selection process. Communities must understand how they rank against key competitors and define areas where improvement can be made.
  • Develop Placemaking Strategies. Comprehensive and multi-partner approaches to implement Placemaking strategies, combined with access to funding and incentives, are necessary to drive revitalization, attract talent, and enhance equity in communities.
  • Pursue Historic Preservation. Preserving and redevelopment historical assets not only creates a unique sense of place, it also is an opportunity for mixed-use and small business development and encourages environmental sustainability and reuse priorities. 
  • Grow Green Spaces & Alternative Transportation Routes. Green spaces and alternative transportation routes enhance the health and wellbeing of residents and supports access to job centers, health care, education, and other community assets that attracts residents and enhances equity.
  • Attract Housing Opportunities. As the nation struggles to meet housing demands, communities with strong Placemaking efforts will attract housing developers that will bring diverse housing options by way of mixed-use development, historic preservation, and single-family homes that access community assets like green spaces and trail systems.

Incorporating Placemaking as an economic and workforce development priority takes an appetite for innovative tactics and will pay dividends in the new world of development and attraction. To promote the use of placemaking strategies, Montrose Group developed educational material that includes the Placemaking White Paper: The New Economic & Workforce Development Frontier, produced a webinar and several placemaking podcasts. Links to all this information are below.

Montrose Group Placemaking White Paper

Link at

Montrose Group Placemaking Webinar Recording

Link at

Montrose Group Placemaking Podcasts

Link at

Stay connected to the Montrose Group’s continued effort to promote placemaking by contacting Dave Robinson, Principal of the Montrose Group, at