Study proves positive impact of placemaking interventions

A study, conducted by Toronto Metropolitan University in collaboration with The Daniels Corporation, Entro, LeMay and MASSIVart found an increase in placemaking interventions in public and private spaces produces positive impacts. 

According to the study, when placemaking interventions are introduced; increased time spent can result in more sales or productive use of a site; increased self-congruity strengthens brand awareness and attachment; increasing the shareability of the placemaking experience can result in higher traffic to your destination.

The study measured responses from 586 respondents after they were presented with one version of a site. The sites included the following: office spaces, public plazas, retail stores, transit stations, and condo buildings.

The baseline version was a direct model of the site as it appears in public, while the enhanced version included enhanced signage and wayfinding, public art installations, or spatial rearrangements.

Researchers found placemaking initiatives produced a 53% increase in positive perceptions for all of the enhanced environments, compared to the baseline. The study further states that individuals also felt the environments were more inviting, beautiful, stimulating, and comfortable, with the research showing a 63% increase in positive feelings towards the locations.

Another important result of the study is the 77% increased likelihood for individuals to recommend the site to friends, family, acquaintances, and a 74% increased likelihood for visitors to share more information about the location that has placemaking interventions.

“With the general feelings toward the site being more beautiful, stimulating, safer, and friendlier and the increased likelihood for sharing their experiences, researchers also saw a 50% increase in time spent in the locations. Additional time spent can result in increased sales, productive use of space, and overall social and environmental benefits,” says the researchers.

Researchers also noticed a 53% increase in self-congruity when participants engaged with sites with placemaking initiatives. Self-congruity happens when an individual connects their self identity with a brand’s identity.

The synthesis of self identity and brand identity can also solidify brand allegiance – resulting in behaviours like frequent purchases, dedication to community activities, and thoughtful interactions with the environment. The study proves that effective co-design stimulates the targeted communities so that they can relate, participate, and establish a profound connection with the space and its intention.

“When engaged with any of the enhanced sites – transit stations, condo buildings, retail stores, and office spaces – the individual’s behaviour was positively influenced by placemaking interventions,” says the researchers. “Placemaking interventions can significantly affect your targeted communities and result in desired outcomes, such as increased sales, stronger connections, increased interactions, community engagement, brand loyalty, increased traffic, and positive awareness.”