The Power Of Placemaking

In public realms, placemaking activates a virtuous cycle - where buildings in iconic areas attract high-end tenants and investors, further cementing an area’s perception of significance and popularity

22 Jul 2019

The power of placemaking
The key ingredient in real estate value is occupier and investor demand. Within this equation, a building’s surrounding areas and proximity to iconic locations is a focal point for prospective occupants or investors. A building’s DNA is determined just as much by that upscale hotel next door and trendy piazza downstairs as it is by its individual fit-out and features. In other words, embedded into the value of a property are the experiential offerings it is associated with, a product of placemaking. 

Real estate consultancy experts are largely aware of this. And they are going the extra mile to help occupiers and landlords capitalize on underutilized areas. A recent placemaking example rolled out by the consulting arm of CBRE’s Valuation & Advisory Services team and Invade, a pioneer in creative space content activation and event management company saw the temporary transformation of the Singapore Turf Club into our very own creative market Shilin Singapore which drew inspiration from Taiwan's famous Shilin Night Market. More conventionally known as a sporting club home to horse racing, the migration of street food, performances and movies into the venue’s car park area added another layer of utility to this space. As the old saying goes, it’s the people that make the place. In many ways this is what the promise of placemaking is all about – seeing human experiences seethe through built environments.

How, then, can we extract value through the manufacturing of a public realm? Figures from the Singapore Turf Club event are very telling. Over two weekends, the night market drew over half a million visitors, who engaged in over 2.5 million transactions, amounting to over SGD $23.5 million in spending. Beyond the monetization of an otherwise underutilized space, the event has arguably catapulted the venue into the galaxy of mainstream appeal, christening it with a newfound awareness. This newfound awareness has a price tag, too, figures from Invade, show almost SGD$120 million generated in PR value (press mentions, social media coverage, lead sourcing etc.) Even after the lanterns and stalls are taken down, the creative lifestyle market association with the Turf Club (and vice versa) becomes a permanent imprint in the minds of attendees.

This psychological programming of the human mind and it’s perception of a property is something that placemaking looks to engineer. Just as a noisy railway can deplete the value of a nearby residential property, masters of placemaking can enhance real estate value through the creation of a surrounding “destination” which delivers a sense of wellbeing and community.  The application of this concept extends to office spaces, and real estate specialists are becoming increasingly cognizant of the value of placemaking. Within the same four walls, employee sentiment can be pivoted toward either happiness or misery depending on their relationship with the space.

In public realms, placemaking activates a vicious cycle - where buildings in iconic areas attract high-end tenants and investors, further cementing an area’s perception of significance and popularity. All a product of venue awareness, and, amazingly, all constructs of the human mind. In the future, placemaking services will be a significant area in which innovative real estate companies use as a tool for differentiation.

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