Futures / September 1, 2023

Research Study: The Value & Impact of Placemaking

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Creative placemaking increases positive ROI, study from Toronto Metropolitan University and industry leaders finds

A new study by the Creative School at Toronto Metropolitan University in collaboration with Lemay, MASSIVart, The Daniels Corporation and Entro proves return on investment for placemaking interventions.


The study measured the responses of 598 participants to office spaces, outdoor courtyards, lobbies, and transit stations to measure the difference in responsiveness to locations with and without placemaking interventions.

The research identifies and measures potential benefits of placemaking such as increased traffic and sales, stronger connections and interactions, and improved community engagement and awareness.


Such initiatives are not only great for captivating your communities, but leads to the increased likelihood of visitors to learn more, share their experience, and align their self-image with the enhanced spaces. The study showed the following results:

  • 50%

    increase in the intention to spend time in the built environment

  • 53%

    increase in positive perceptions of the location, resulting in environments that were seen as culturally vibrant, safe, friendly, and supporting an improved quality of life

  • 63%

    increase in positive feelings towards the locations, resulting in environments that were more inviting, beautiful, stimulating and comfortable

  • 77%

    increased likelihood for individuals to recommend the site to friends, family, and acquaintances

  • 74%

    increased likelihood for individuals to share information about the location, which can translate to organic conversations that could create increased foot traffic and exposure through word-of-mouth or social media sharing

“This research opens up new possibilities for evidence-based design of cities, buildings and spaces. The study provides a strong empirical foundation to inform design and decision-making, and helps us understand the immediate and enduring benefits of implementing placemaking for retail, real estate, transit and public spaces.”

Dr. Louis-Etienne Dubois, Associate Professor at the School of Creative Industries at The Creative School, Toronto Metropolitan University

This research validates what we, as designers, know in our hearts: that placemaking provides identity and meaning and allows us to form emotional connections with a space. We look forward to drawing on these research insights in our future projects.

Read a more detailed summary of the research process and findings here or access the  full study published in the March 2023 issue of City, Culture and Society.

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