Pop-up Placemaking Toolkit from AARP Can Help Create Vibrant Spaces that Create Community

Dec 4, 2019

The term “placemaking” refers to the work of improving a particular public space or overall area to make it more of a destination and shared gathering place.

The Pop-Up Placemaking Tool Kit was created by AARP and Team Better Block to inform a broad audience of local leaders, policymakers, advocates and neighborhood residents about the many ways temporary projects can inspire positive community change.

The most successful pop-up placemaking demonstrations put people at the forefront of creating change in their community. When residents help identify and solve the challenges that affect their daily lives — whether it’s a half-vacant Main Street or roads that make walking or bicycling unsafe — communities and local leaders are more likely to achieve and sustain success.

When communities of all types (urban, suburban, rural) and sizes experiment and demonstrate solutions, the quicker their methods can be refined and positive change achieved. AARP Livable Communities and Team Better Block have partnered on numerous demonstration projects in support of communities that want to become more livable and age-friendly.

This tool kit stems from Team Better Block’s on-the-ground experience and lessons learned, yet it is not a prescription for how a demonstration or change must be implemented. Community leaders, organizations and residents are encouraged
to use this publication and Team Better Block’s pop-up recipe catalog (see page 23) as a starting point.

AARP’s Livable Community newsletter recently featured art murals in Boston as a method of placemaking. While not a pop-up, it displays an example of connectivity and community pride while also providing landmarks for people navigating the city.