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What is Nature-Based Placemaking and How Can it Help Communities Thrive?

nature-based placemaking to enhance communities


Nature-based placemaking (NBP) is a research-based practice that centers on utilizing natural surroundings to create lively, thriving communities.

This innovative community development approach incorporates outdoor activities, sustainable practices, and nature into community plans to enhance the well-being, cultural preservation, and economic activity of residents.

Educational facilities can also consider the benefits of utilizing NBP strategies on and around school properties.

This article explores the concept of NBP and outlines five essential strategies that communities can employ to foster sustainable and lively communities through NBP.


5 Strategies for Implementing Nature-based Placemaking

1. Utilize Natural Assets for Community Enhancement

Utilizing natural assets means making use of the natural resources and features available in a community to improve and enrich the overall well-being of its residents. 

nature based placemaking to enhance communities
An unused lot turned into a vibrant park.

For example, in a neighborhood with limited areas for outdoor recreation, community members come together to transform an unused lot into a vibrant community park.

2. Collaborate with Community Members

Collaboration for NBP would involve holding community meetings to gather input from residents and community leaders about their visions for utilizing natural surroundings to enhance the overall well-being of the community. 

3. Foster Growth and Sustainability

Creating outdoor areas for leisure and relaxation can generate job opportunities and promote the local economy, all while allowing people to enjoy nature.

Park rangers, maintenance workers, and gardeners play vital roles in ensuring these public spaces are kept clean, safe, and well-maintained, paving the way for new employment opportunities.

nature based placemaking to enhance communities
Vendors and Maintenance in Parks

Additionally, entrepreneurs can establish food stands or small eateries to cater to visitors and locals alike. By maintaining these natural spaces and keeping them engaging, the welcoming atmosphere of these outdoor areas remains intact.

The economic growth derived from these jobs also helps secure the long-term viability of these outdoor spaces, making them valuable community assets.

4. Ensure Long-Term Sustainability

Taking care of our environment is vital in nature-based placemaking. It means protecting and preserving our natural spaces. One way to do this is by setting aside special areas called nature reserves where plants, animals, and their habitats can thrive undisturbed.

Another important aspect is using the land in a smart and sustainable way. This means making choices that don’t harm the environment, like using renewable resources, reducing waste, and not polluting. It’s also important to teach the community why it’s crucial to protect nature.

By doing these things, we ensure that our natural environment stays healthy and strong for a long time.

5. Honor Heritage and Traditions

In a nature-based placemaking initiative, honoring heritage and traditions is recommended to preserve cultural identity and promote sustainability. One way to achieve this is by creating a central community park that features multiple cultural gardens representing diverse backgrounds.

For example, a Chinese garden, an African diaspora garden, a Latino-inspired garden, and more. These gardens provide vibrant spaces for community members to gather, share traditions, and foster intercultural exchange.

nature based placemaking to enhance communities
Picture of Heritage Depicted in a Park

The park ensures responsible land use by implementing sustainable practices such as organic gardening, composting, and natural pest control. Additionally, educational workshops held locally or online teach residents about sustainable gardening techniques and water conservation. 


NBP is a way for communities to improve their neighborhoods through nature and outdoor activities. This requires a focus on the natural features around us, like parks and open spaces. Communities must work together to decide what should be done to enhance the use of their natural surroundings. 

With NBP we can create more jobs and opportunities, stimulating the economy. We also want to make sure we are taking care of the environment while preserving cultural history. By doing all of these things, we can make our communities more vibrant and enjoyable for everyone, now and in the future.

Knowledge on Nature-Based Placemaking (NBP) Quiz

What is the main objective of nature-based placemaking (NBP)?

How can communities utilize natural assets for community enhancement?

Why is collaboration with community members important in NBP?

How can NBP contribute to economic growth and sustainability?

Why is it crucial to honor heritage and traditions in nature-based placemaking?

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