This type of placemaking, coined by the Project for Public Spaces, refers to simple projects that are short-term and low-cost.

These projects are a form of grassroots, bottom-up planning. These small projects can have a big impact, filling a void as resources for traditional, top-down planning dwindle. According to the Project for Public Spaces, LQC placemaking has many benefits including:

  1. Breaking down resistance to change
  2. Re-establishing a sense of community
  3. Encouraging community buy-in
  4. Generating interest from public and private investors
  5. Bringing together stakeholders for future projects

In many ways, these LQC projects can lay the groundwork for future change on a larger scale.

These projects are meant to be light.

Top-down placemaking efforts can often be very capital-intensive and disconnected from the true needs of the community. The LQC method encourages the projects to closely reflect the needs and desires of the community. Since these projects are often so simple, there is no heavy-lifting required, and it only takes a few interested parties to make it happen.

Quick fixes can lead to ongoing support.

These projects, which can be set up quickly, allow leaders to experiment with what works best for their community. This is a great alternative to the cumbersome top-down approach, which often include a lengthy planning process that is not guaranteed to work out. Once an issue is identified, these projects can be the first step of a long-term vision. What may start as a spur-of-the-moment idea may lead to an ongoing, structured, and permanent program.

Overcoming the funding hurdle.

For many smaller cities, the main barrier to placemaking efforts is getting the funding required to make it happen. While a vision may exist for a park, trail, or public square – the money to make the project happen may not. The LQC method depends on non-traditional funding strategies. Funding for these small projects can come from crowd-funding platforms, businesses that are close to the project location, community grant programs, and even local art initiatives. Due to their inexpensive nature, these types of projects are accessible for even the most impoverished communities.

The Real Value of Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper Projects

Sometimes the end product of these interventions are temporary, but their impact is lasting. The true value of these types of placemaking initiatives is the increase in civic capacity. A successful LQC project can help a community believe in itself again and bring stakeholders together to work on a common goal: making their community a better place to live.

Header Photo: Steve Rainwater