ppslogo_blue_2014(New York, NY, December 8, 2016) – New York-based nonprofit Project for Public Spaces (PPS) today released new research showing how transforming public spaces through placemaking can improve health outcomes.

A growing body of research over the last several decades has shown the connections between “place” and health, and it is well documented that a person’s zip code can be a more reliable determinant of health than their genetic code. This timely report offers evidence-based guidance, recommendations, and numerous case studies to which health institutions, community organizations, and other partners can refer in order to create and support healthy placemaking initiatives.

From obesity and chronic disease to depression, social isolation, or increased exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants, communities around the world face pressing health challenges that are much different than those we’ve experienced in the past. “To address the real health challenges of the 21st century,” explains PPS President and Founder Fred Kent, “we need innovative solutions that look not only at the physical causes and symptoms of poor health, but also the social, economic, and environmental components of total well-being.” 

Produced with generous support from Kaiser Permanente and Anne T. and Robert Bass, this important study focuses on five key areas: Social Support & Interaction; Play & Active Recreation; Green & Natural Environments; Healthy Food; and Walking & Biking. The final chapter addresses health care institutions specifically, detailing ways in which they can take action to become placemaking champions in the communities they serve.

At the heart of PPS’s work, placemaking is a collaborative process for reshaping the public realm—a community’s streets, parks, and other public spaces—in order to maximize shared value. Placemaking includes a broad cross-section of strategies and projects, running the gamut from farmers markets, community gardens, and public plazas, to efforts to make streets more amenable to pedestrians and bicyclists.

“Placemaking is perhaps the most powerful means available to business, civic, and health leaders for invigorating our democracy and revitalizing our communities,” said Kaiser Permanente Vice President, Tyler Norris.

About Project for Public Spaces

Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. As the central hub of the global Placemaking movement, PPS’s pioneering placemaking approach helps citizens transform their public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation and serve common needs. Visit www.pps.org for more information.


Laura Torchio, Deputy Director, Transportation Initiatives | ltorchio@pps.org, 212.620.5660 ext. 326

Annah MacKenzie, Vice President, Communications | amackenzie@pps.org, 212.620.5660 ext. 316

Find full report here.