Project for Public Spaces has announced that it is now accepting applications for the 2016 Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community grant program. Southwest Airlines connects people to the places that mean the most to them. In 2014, Southwest launched Heart of the Community to encourage more connections on the ground and to help residents feel a sense of ownership in the places they share. This community-driven program has supported the activation of public spaces in cities across the country, from Portland, Maine, to San Antonio, Texas. These projects have brought new life to vacant or underutilized areas and they have shown Placemaking to be a powerful tool for transforming their public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation and serve common needs.
What is placemaking?
Placemaking is a movement that reimagines public spaces as the heart of every community. Rooted in community-based participation, Placemaking involves the planning, design, management and programming of public spaces and capitalizes on a community’s assets and potential to create vibrant destinations—such as neighborhood gardens, community markets, and downtown squares.
Heart of the Community projects are customized to meet the unique needs and desires of the local community. PPS, Southwest Airlines, and the local partner engage the community to develop the project vision for the selected public space—such as a park, plaza, or vacant lot—and then design and implement physical improvements, expanded amenities, and programming. The pilot projects in Detroit, Providence, and San Antonio provide good examples of the typical scope of a Heart of the Community project.
In the past, cash grants have ranged between $50,000 and $100,000 to the grantee, plus an equivalent amount of in-kind support in the form of technical assistance from PPS staff provided to help the partners realize their project and build local capacity for Placemaking. Therefore, the total values of the grants have ranged between $100,000 and $200,000.
For more details on the grant program and to accress the application, visit http://www.pps.org/blog/now-accepting-applications-for-2016-heart-of-the-community-cities/
Photo Credit: NumbPhoto, www.flickr.com/photos/numbphoto/