Placemaking Moves to the Center

Published 5/2/18
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Making Special Places to Live, Work, Study and Visit

Over the last decade, communities of all types have focused on the goal of nurturing, developing or making more “livable” communities. This is described as “placemaking,” a broad set of best practices, disciplines and design principles that have emerged in urban, community and destination planning and management.  Placemaking seeks to build communities that are thriving, sustainable, successful and enjoyable places to live, work, start a business, study and visit.  

The growth of placemaking has been fueled by clear evidence that there are powerful synergies in these outcomes. Cities such as Austin, Seattle, Portland, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Vienna, Singapore, Melbourne and Auckland not only rank near the top in various global “livability” indexes (i.e.: Mercer, The Economist, US News and World Report) but are also successful in attracting new businesses, new residents as well as new visitors and events. The pressures of too many visitors in many of these cities has emphasized the importance of managing tourism more actively – ensuring it drives positive outcomes for both the economy and for residents.

These themes were highlighted in the blog post, “The End of Tourism (as we know it),”  which discussed the phenomenon of “over tourism” and cited placemaking as one of the best practice responses for destinations under pressure from tourism.  Placemaking strategies that a DMO can encourage or help facilitate vary from investment in new or enhanced public spaces, expansion of public transport and cycling/walking options, event development focused on locals and visitors and redevelopment projects in overlooked or even blighted areas of their destination that offer opportunities for new housing and businesses plus fresh entertainment, cuisine options and/or event spaces. 

The importance of a wider destination management focus has been highlighted by Destination Next - Destination International’s definitive research study and guide to future focused DMOs (updated in 2017). Based on a survey of 433 DMOs from 54 countries, Destination Next identified a critical role for DMOs as “Catalysts of Community ‘Place Making’ as one of 5 key strategies for “Destination organizations of the future”. A range of Placemaking best practices were also highlighted in the World Travel and Tourism Council’s recent publication on ‘Coping with Success – Managing ‘Over Tourism’ in tourism destinations”. 

Placemaking is a core theme of the influential set of global conferences, City Nation Place. It is hosting its second annual Americas Conference in New York City June 5-6, 2018, in addition to related conferences in London and Singapore. To support research, best practices in this important area of destination marketing and management, Miles is a sponsor of the City Nation Place Americas Conference and is facilitating a session at the event on “Managing your place brand story across multiple platforms”. This will include the latest insights from the "Hyper Informed Traveler", research developed with Destination Analysts and the quarterly “The State of the American Traveler”. This will be followed by a panel discussion of DMOs sharing case studies, best practices and practical tips on telling the authentic story of their place in tourism’s complex, high fragmented media landscape. 

As a sponsor of City Nation Place, Miles is able to offer a 25% discount to the Americas conference this June.  To receive this discount, register through this link or visit this page for more information


City Nation Place Conference Americas Conference, June 5-6, 2018
Destination Next – DMO Futures Study- Destinations International, updated 2017
Coping with Success- World Travel & Tourism Council, 2017
"The End of Tourism (as we know it)"- Miles Blog Post, Chris Adams
The Rise of the Hyper Informed Traveler- Miles Blog Post, Chris Adams