Share: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn I recommend visiting to read:%0A%0A {0} %0A%0A {1}


Dominic Brown • 18/09/2017
Place-making is a frequently used term in commercial real estate, whereby buildings, public places, infrastructure and technology combine to create a space that encourages community participation, comments Tony Crabb, National Director, Research.

Place-making is a frequently used term in commercial real estate, whereby buildings, public places, infrastructure and technology combine to create a space that encourages community participation, comments Tony Crabb External Link, National Director, Research.


There are many great examples of successful place-making including Washington Square and Bryant Park in New York, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus in London and more locally the parks, malls and squares in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

It we take a look at these stand-out examples of place-making, where destinations have been created, what are the common themes? What are the critical success factors for creating places and spaces that people use?

Firstly, authenticity. Humans crave authenticity and spaces that are developed in the context of their surrounding environment, and have a much greater chance of delivering an authentic experience.  Spaces that are sensitive to the cultures of the communities in which they exist will encourage curiosity.  Place-makers must first seek to understand the needs of potential users, then design and deliver to those requirements rather than build spaces in isolation of those community needs. Just because something works in another city or country doesn’t mean you should transport the model in an exact replica locally. Generally those spaces that have evolved rather than been designed are more successful. Much of what is great in the world is because it has been given permission to adapt, evolve and include.

Secondly accessibility.  Accessibility is about walkability, rideability, access to public transport, parking facilities and a solution for traffic congestion.  Linked to this is proximity to target segments. How many families, singles, couples, students, workers, retirees and elderly are close to the space? Is there a reasonable expectation that they will be able to access the space given their proximity?

Thirdly diversity of experience.  The more diverse experiences that are offered by a space, the more likely people will engage with it.  What uses are available – retail, recreation, collaboration, relaxation, employment, culture for community participation?  Single-use precincts such as all residential, all commercial or all recreational are not as appealing as integrated experiences.  The concept of the ’30-minute city’ – where the community live 30 minutes from everything they need – is a way to create something that is truly desirable, valuable and lasting.

Next is relevance.  Relevance and utility is reflective of community.  For example, there is little point having a park if there is no play equipment, no open space, no seats, no barbecues, no exercising and no dog walking. Having a community asset that is inaccessible to sectors of the community due to opening hours, physical restrictions or relevance is also a wasted opportunity. Often events are held to activate a space and encourage community participation and again to be successful need to be relevant.

In the world we live in today, safety is a critical element to successful place-making.  The safer individuals feel the more likely they are to engage with the space. Safety covers lighting, opening hours, cleanliness, clear entry and exit points, density and diversity of people as well as people using the space at all times.

Lastly but possibly most important in our view is inclusion.  Does the space offer opportunities for all members of the community to engage with it?  The reality is that many different community groups experience exclusion and social isolation based on the initial design. Has there been thought given to the elderly, the less mobile, those with hearing impairment, visual impairment, mental health conditions, intellectual disability, the economically disadvantaged, those on the autism spectrum and children with special needs.

Inclusion, tolerance and diversity should be at the heart of everything we deliver in the built environment. If we start out with people in mind, we will deliver an extraordinary built environment and that is what we should strive for.

Tony Crabb - National Director, Research

Related Insights

A Day in the Life of a Tenant Advisor
Insights • Our community

A Day in the Life of a Tenant Advisor

Whether you want to streamline your portfolio, navigate a rent review, or relocate your company, getting the right property advice from the right people can make all the difference.
Jessica Freeman • 27/02/2023
CRE card

We Make An Impact

Our people are the true makers of Cushman & Wakefield.  They create tangible outcomes, working with our clients across the Commercial Real Estate industry to make great things happen.
Guy Bennett • 14/11/2022
Research • Data Center

Data Centres | Driving the Sustainability Agenda in Australia

It is estimated that Australia will become a 1GW data centre market within the next few years. 
Vivek Dahiya • 16/06/2022

Related Stories

A New Lease on Life for Regional Heritage Buildings
Northam and Charters Towers • Government, Retail, Residential
Learn More
Existing Facility Refurbishment in Canberra
Existing Facility Refurbishment in Canberra • Government
Learn More
With your permission we and our partners would like to use cookies in order to access and record information and process personal data, such as unique identifiers and standard information sent by a device to ensure our website performs as expected, to develop and improve our products, and for advertising and insight purposes.

Alternatively click on More Options and select your preferences before providing or refusing consent. Some processing of your personal data may not require your consent, but you have a right to object to such processing.

You can change your preferences at any time by returning to this site or clicking on Privacy & Cookies.
These cookies ensure that our website performs as expected,for example website traffic load is balanced across our servers to prevent our website from crashing during particularly high usage.
These cookies allow our website to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the region you are in) and provide enhanced features. These cookies do not gather any information about you that could be used for advertising or remember where you have been on the internet.
These cookies allow us to work with our marketing partners to understand which ads or links you have clicked on before arriving on our website or to help us make our advertising more relevant to you.
Agree All
Reject All