Revisiting the “Model of Place”: A Comparative Study of Placemaking and Sustainability

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Revisiting the “Model of Place”: A Comparative Study of Placemaking and Sustainability

  • Ensiyeh Ghavampour Urban Entrepreneur, New Zealand
  • Brenda Vale School of Architecture, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

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Abstract:  The literature on sustainability policies and placemaking strategies reveals the inadequacy of both concepts to address current urban issues suggesting the need for new approaches. Sustainability researchers and policy makers are seeking an integrated approach to sustainability within which placemaking is a powerful tool in achieving sustainability goals. However, despite this rising awareness of place and its value, there is growing concern that the value of place and its urban meaning is declining. Placemaking appears to have changed from being an authentic everyday practice to a professional responsibility, and the understanding of the intangible character of place is mainly lost in the modern making of places. The emphasis of designers on physical design attributes assumes a fragile model of causality, underestimating the other necessary components for placemaking—behaviour and meaning. Comparing models of sustainability and place, this article suggests that there is need for a shift from the current model of placemaking towards a strong model of progress and balance in creating quality places. The article also describes the implications of the new model for design practice and how it could be used with the goal of achieving both placemaking and sustainability visions.

Keywords:  community building; model of place; place; placemaking; sense of place; sustainability

Published:   30 June 2019


© Ensiyeh Ghavampour, Brenda Vale. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.