While placemaking is a multi-disciplinary concern, it is a key focus within the discipline of spatial planning. This paper aims to explore the development of theoretical trends with regard to placemaking in spatial planning since 1975 to identify current emerging theoretical perspectives. Special attention is given to differences in perspectives between the Global North and the Global South.
The study used an integrative literature review (ILR) to analyse placemaking literature over a period of 41 years and five months. The ILR followed the basic review stages: scoping; planning and review protocol; identification/availability; searching; and screening. ILR differs from other reviews as quality appraisal, data gathering, analysis and synthesis rely on coding, thematic content analysis and synthesis.
Initially, the planning/review protocol resulted in 59 contributions on placemaking in various disciplines (excluding publications in other languages that English). Contributions included spatial and design disciplines (29 contributions), social sciences (14 contributions) and other disciplines (16 contributions). The literature review proceeded with a selection of 23 spatial planning contributions (20 from the Global North and three from the Global South). Theoretical trends include placemaking theorised as a physical construct, a social construct, an economic construct (absent in literature from the Global South), a tool for empowerment, a psychological dimension and an environmental management tool.
The most recent theoretical perspectives in literature suggest placemaking as an enabling tool in which people share knowledge and learn new skills to transform their own environment. This empowering process creates a linkage between planning theory and practice.
This paper contributes to the current theories of placemaking in spatial planning. It provides a simplified view of an exhaustive list of existing literature. This paper reports on the current trends and the development of placemaking theory.
This work was supported in part by the National Research Foundation (NRF) under Grant SFH150723129706. Any opinion, finding and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and therefore the NRF does not accept any liability in this regard.
Strydom, W., Puren, K. and Drewes, E. (2018), "Exploring theoretical trends in placemaking: towards new perspectives in spatial planning", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 165-180. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMD-11-2017-0113Download as .RIS
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