Kansas State University


Creative Placemaking

Wichita Pop-Up Park moving forward

From Project Wichita (formerly Wichita DDC):

Published on Sep 9, 2015

“The Hole” on Douglas has been filled, and is in the final stage of transforming into a temporary urban park in the core of our City! In fall 2014, the WDDC received a grant from the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation to construct a temporary pop-up park. The park site, formerly known as “The Hole,” will occupy the Douglas Avenue frontage between Market and Main at 121 E. Douglas. The project included filling in “The Hole” with excess fill material (dirt) from the nearby development project on the Arkansas River – River Vista, and the new Child Advocacy Center site.

See a time lapse video of “the Hole” disappearing.


Typology of Temporary Landscapes

Temporary landscapes show a broad range of placemaking initiatives. On one end of the spectrum we have temporary landscapes that can be replicated and relocated anywhere. The placemaking success of these landscapes capitalizes on easy to follow DIY instructions and universally easy to find materials (eg: Wood pallets). These projects may contrast with their surroundings but are nonidentical when compared to each other.  On the other end of the spectrum are temporary landscapes that are very grounded in their setting. . The placemaking successes of these landscapes utilize thorough stakeholder or public input and reference to local history or culture. These projects may or may not contrast with their surroundings but are unique when compared to each other. Temporary landscapes capture a full spectrum of placemaking.


Conservation in Zoos

When educating people about the importance of conservation of animals and their habitats in zoos, it is important to create a connection between them and nature. This connection can be achieved by creating a sense of place that allows people to be inspired by nature and understand the importance of preserving it for the future. To create a sense of place artwork could be integrated into viewing areas to allow visitors to interact with it to form a closer connection to the animals they encounter. It is important to encourage and create moments of connection to the animals and their habitats. These connections have the potential to change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans existing in harmony with each other.

“In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.” – Baba Dioum


Emerging Imageability Patterns In Creative Placemaking

How does my masters project relate to creative place-making?

I plan to engage with stakeholders and city officials so site design implementation can benefit a larger group of people. Through pedestrian counts and open interviews I will determine the relevance of the design solution to the field of landscape architecture and planning.


What relationships exist between my project and Indra’s Web?

I am looking to find the site scale drivers that inform creative placemaking. I will be interested in finding how socio-ecological processes can improve the adaptability of creative, urban landscapes.


What patterns am I looking for?

Pedestrian movement and engagement patterns will inform a design process for culturally and ecologically resilient urban sites. I will evaluate site imageability and analyze spaces for contextual patterns. This process will inform the site design proposal process for a creative, interactive public event; the design project will be based in combination with peer research and collaboration with stakeholders.


What patterns exist on a broad level? (potential pattern relationships between my project and Indra’s Web)

Determination of drivers (walkability, active transit, identity, experience, memory, triangulation effect) that encourage creative placemaking. Once revealed I can propose a more informed design proposal that encourages site activation AND resiliency. As the group works toward a design proposal to share with the stakeholder I can identify drivers that encourage site activation and duration.

Adaptable Imageability


creative placemaking: a process between user and landscape to develop a meaningful, engaging, and flexible space for any given user.

“The observer himself should play an active role in perceiving the work and have a creative part in developing his image. He should have the power to change that image to fit changing needs” (Lynch, 1960). As society continues to evolve and progress with rapid technological advances our landscapes are forced to fluctuate to match our ever-changing needs. Landscapes are dynamic, self- organizing systems to be preserved for the physical and mental sustainment of humanity (Ahern, 2012). Resilient landscapes are more capable to absorb the changing stressors we put on them while maintaining system functionality. The world continues to deplete resources at an increasingly unsustainable rate holding planners and designers responsible to develop a resilient process to reinvent cities beginning at the site scale using imageability as a catalyst for innovation.


Public Art




Oftentimes, public art is something that is put aside or completely overshadowed, but in reality its value is hugely important.  Cities gain cultural, social, and economic value through public art. It’s something that adds unique meaning to public space and provides a sense of identity. All places have creative potential. Public art can play a significant role in how we go about activating space in a creative way.

The Happy City

Biking rush hour happiness. Copenhagen, Denmark. Image by Danielle DeOrsey

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence”  -Aristotle

Creative Placemaking is a concept that aims to revitalize spaces, structures and streetscapes by creating a site specific identity in order to bring people together to celebrate, inspire, and be happy (NEA). Cities in which we live play a large role in our overall happiness. With such influence, an important question arises: As landscape architects and urban planners, how can we utilize the power of place and urban design to provide and increase opportunities for happiness? This project will focus on using active transportation as a catalyst for urban development that aims to increase overall happiness in Manhattan, KS.


Promoting Walkability in Midwestern Cities

The River Market: a small example of a walkable space in Kansas City, MO. Photo by Steven Holt.

Creative placemaking in urban settings is a method of promoting walkability, which provides health, economic, and environmental benefits to a city.  Studies show a strong correlation between higher density, more walkable neighborhoods and lower rates of carbon emissions, electricity consumption, and obesity, as well as a larger percentage of income spent locally.  However, in the United States, with a few exceptions, cities and especially suburbs are designed to be convenient and comfortable for the car first, at the expense of pedestrians and cyclists.  The benefits of people walking and cycling are too numerous to count, and thus should be one of the primary goals of design at the local, neighborhood, and city scale.

Conservation Education in Zoos

Sea Lion Sound exhibit the St. Louis Zoo, image by Michelle McElroy

Zoos offer an opportunity to educate visitors about wildlife and habitat conservation. Due to their ability to create experiences and engage visitors directly zoos have the potential to increase learning and conservation related action while also building quality of place. In the past several decades there has been a shift towards educating people about conservation within the zoos. There has been an increasing effort to focus on the welfare of animals first and foremost, with the visitor experience being designed to engage each viewer in regards to the specific animal and their habitat.

Temporary Landscapes and Placemaking

The construction process of our design build installation in Copenhagen Denmark: Hands On Urbanism

Landscape architects need to take a more active role in the planning, design, and execution of temporary landscapes. Temporary landscapes are a tool for creative placemaking because they can contribute to the changing cultural identity of city. Temporary landscapes offer respond to the flexibility needed by our cities. However the unorganized variety of temporary landscapes has made it difficult to evaluate and learn from these spaces. In order to create stronger temporary landscapes a typology is needed.  A typology of temporary landscapes will help us better situate and evaluate these projects.