Features of Creative Places

Creative Places uses public art to allow multitude forms of relationships between the designed environment and creative endeavor of the users. This can only occur when the public art:

Instills community pride and belonging

  • Engages and Respects different voices
  • Willing to impart knowledge of events in history which are troubling
  • Ensures safety and security for women and children
  • Respects diversity
  • Ensures Traffic Calmed streets

Creative placemaking allows both:

Passive Interaction and engaging public art where the users simply temporarily lay or sit and the best way to explain this is through photos.


Active Interaction and engaging public art when users make temporary changes to the form to reflect a thought or an idea.


Creative Placemaking (CP) is an integral part of Urban Design. CP is a “synergistic pattern language of Public Art” shaped by cultural symbols and collective memories of the community. Public art is an integral part of CP where it is not considered as monumental traditions.  Public art is more diffused using various forms and creating a variety of functions with community support.The creative success depends on how open and willing planners and architects are to partner with a variety of public art tacticians who have broadened the scope and understanding of how public art can celebrate and stabilize distinctiveness.

In successful Creative Placemaking, partners from different sectors come together to shape the physical and social character of a neighborhoods around arts and cultural activities. Creative Placemaking livens public and private spaces, reinvigorates structures and streetscapes, revitalizes local businesses and enhances public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired.  

Urban Design principles that govern creative placemaking varies and will remain an emerging field as the cultural values and social media continue to shape our thinking. I strongly believe that CP is a powerful tool to encourage urban planners and architects to  design interactive public places.

Chicano Park under Coronado Bridge

Creativity in Placemaking

Chicano Park, San Diego, CA

In the 1960s, the California Department of Transportation built the I-5 freeway through this area, demolishing homes and splitting the neighborhood in two. To compensate, residents were promised that the land under the Coronado Bridge would be turned into a park, something the community had wanted for years. More time went by, but no park appeared. On April 22, 1970, residents learned that the promise had been rescinded and the land would be used for a California Highway Patrol station. The local community rallied quickly to halt construction. Hundreds of men, women and children converged on the site, forming a human chain around bulldozers. They occupied the space for twelve days, attracting the attention of government officials.

Months of negotiation followed as city and state agencies argued questions of land use and ownership. Residents, led by the Chicano Park Steering Committee, kept up pressure. The artist Salvador Torres proposed to transform the bridge's massive concrete pylons into a towering canvas for expression in the spirit of the Mexican Mural Movement. The formation of Chicano Park was signed into law in 1971 and mural painting began two years later. 

In January 2017, the park was designated a National Historic Landmark