With support from Anne T. and Robert M. Bass and in partnership with Project for Public Spaces, we are focused on activating downtowns through placemaking.


The Power of Place

In early 2015, the National Main Street Center (NMSC) formalized a partnership with NYC-based, international nonprofit Project for Public Spaces (PPS) to help revitalize towns and communities through placemaking—a community-led process that helps activate downtowns and community gathering places. Placemaking provides a powerful set of tools for change that Main Street organizations can easily learn and apply. Through a strategy called Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper communities can make immediate and affordable changes to public spaces while also building local support and demonstrating to stakeholders the potential for further long-term projects and investments.

Training Workshops

This partnership has created several unique opportunities both for NMSC and PPS, but also, more importantly, for the Main Street America and Urban Main networks. First launched was the Cultivating Place in Main Street Communities, a series of two-day intensive training workshops that began in five pilot states in 2016—Alabama, Connecticut, Missouri, Montana, and Oregon—and continued with a second round in five more states in 2017: Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming. These trainings not only instruct Main Street communities how to integrate placemaking principles into their Main Street work, but also draw for them a path to implementation.

In order to help make implementation of placemaking efforts easier, NMSC has also partnered with the national, nonprofit crowdfunding platform ioby for the Cultivating Place on Main Street: Crowdfunding Challenge, a set of crowdfunding campaigns with matching grants offered exclusively to the states selected for the Cultivating Place trainings. Learn more.


In addition to the Cultivating Place training program, NMSC and PPS have hosted two national convenings:



All activities associated with the NMSC and PPS partnership are made possible through the generous support of
Anne T. and Robert M. Bass.