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What is Multicultural Placemaking?

What is the process for a location to become a place? A place has a story behind it, something that connects a community to the history, future, and values of that built environment. It reflects the needs and identity of the people that are nearest to it, a process known as placemaking.

Placemaking is about “strengthening the connection between people and the places they share…[through] a collaborative process by which we can shape our public [spaces] in order to maximize shared values” (Project for Public Spaces, 2021 ). A community forms when these shared values are reflected in their spaces, but also when diversity is celebrated and respected in all of its forms.

    Placemaking is "both an overarching idea and a hands-on approach for [celebrating a] neighborhood, city, or region [in a way] that inspires people to reimagine public spaces as the heart of every community”.

    - Project for Public Spaces, 2021

      MAGNIFY Your Sense of Place

      Guiding Principles for Multicultural Placemaking & Community Belonging

      What makes a successful place? Review key principles, community experiences, and measurements that are especially important to culturally and linguistically diverse groups in placemaking and community belonging. This diagram is informed by the community survey and best practices in placemaking but should not be seen as an exhaustive resource. This should encourage evolving conversations and learning opportunities.


      • = Community Experiences
        • = Measurements

      People & Connections

      • Celebrates Diverse Backgrounds and Cultures
      • Tells a Story or Connects to a Memory (Past, Present, & Future)
      • Encourages Unity & Individuality
        • Presence of Diverse People & Stories
        • Social Networks Built
        • Neighborhood Satisfaction

      Access & Linkages

      • Accessible Regardless of Ability, Age, or Background
      • Readable and Understandable Signage (Language & Literacy Access)
      • Conveniently Located Near Other Key Community Assets
      • Prioritize Walkability
        • Street Use & Life
        • Multimodal Traffic Data
        • Multilingual Signage & Plain Language Assessments
        • Travel Distances Between Assets

      Uses & Activities

      • Pathways to Opportunities for Personal Growth, Learning, and Resources
      • Art & Symbols Reflect Community
      • Stimulating Activities for All Ages, Abilities, and Backgrounds
      • Provides Opportunities for Mutual Aid and Distribution of Resources
        • Compatible Land-Use Patterns
        • Critical Resources Available
        • Child & Youth Development Indicators

      Comfort & Safety

      • Creates Spaces for Intersectional Safety
      • Induces Community Care & Connection
      • Strives for Community Comfort over Traditional Designs
        • Crime Data Disaggregated by Social Vulnerability
        • Building Conditions
        • Building and Street Designs for Comfort Year-Round

      Trauma Informed Design

      • Promotes Healing & Emotional Awareness
      • Acknowledges Displacement, Historic Disinvestment, and Inconsistent Services
      • Resists Repeated Harm of Community Members
      • Offers Opportunities for Reclaiming Community Ownership of Built Environment
        • Reflective Engagement Process
        • Community Development Agreements
        • Compensation and/or Added Support for Marginalized Residents


      • Promotes Environmentally Friendly Structures
      • Self-Invests in Community Infrastructure
      • Creates Opportunities for Wealth Building and Social Capital for Residents
      • Is Supported by Long-Term Funding from Decision Making Groups
        • Rent Values
        • Property Values
        • Social Determinants of Health
        • Income Levels
        • Amount of Public and Private Investments


      We invite you to explore the following StoryMap and click on each tab to understand the different aspects of placemaking through local examples in the Salt Lake Valley.

      • SCROLL ON. Continue scrolling using the bar on the right in the window below.

      Reflection Questions

      Here are some reflective questions for you to ask yourself if the place or space you are in can better emulate placemaking principles for community and belonging. These questions are applicable no matter what sector you work in or what role you play in your community because the focus is to create more spaces that are community-driven in process, outcomes, and feelings. 

      Consider also adopting the following mindsets: 

      • Opportunity-Building Mindset: An opportunity-building mindset involves trying to understand and give people what they need to be able to enjoy full, healthy lives. It aims to promote fairness, justice and access by addressing barriers that prevent people from equally thriving. 
      • Co-Creative Mindset: This mindset seeks to work in collaboration with communities and groups to define what a thriving environment requires. It involves working in meaningful partnership to understand gaps and co-create solutions, never in isolation from the groups most impacted by a major decision. 

      • Does the space seek to challenge existing barriers to thrive facing the community?

        This requires an opportunity-building mindset and desire to co-create solutions with communities.

      • Are communities reflected in the physical characteristics of the space  in a meaningful way?

        This can be through art, monuments, or cultural elements, and should focus more on appreciation and community relevance.

      • Is the space well connected and accessible to all people?

        This should consider transportation, ADA-compliance, and language preferences. In terms of what people see, consume, and how they engage, are they able to fully enjoy the space in the way they need?

      • Can the space support community values through its infrastructure?

        This means avoiding disenfranchisement of communities that have a history of and face current barriers to thriving in place.

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