In our experience the word placemaking means different things to different groups. To some it’s the gateway signs or sculptures at London Villages like Carnaby to help you know when you’ve arrived on their patch, and to others its the sexy wayfinding that guides you from A to B and tells you with confidence that “you are here”. The truth is, it’s so much more than that.
At Underscore, we believe that it’s all about shared value, based on an intrinsic understanding of the location itself and the people with whom it needs top connect. Placemaking is the process through which we reimagine our public and private spaces, with people at the heart of both. In order to strengthen the appeal of these shared spaces, it is essential to pay attention to the social, physical and cultural factors that make them somewhere both inviting and distinct to live, work and play.
It has become apparent that some of society’s most pressing health challenges like physical inactivity, mental health, and the needs of an ageing population, can be greatly influenced by the places we inhabit. A brilliant example of where new development in London is utilising its space to combat such issues is the regeneration of the iconic Battersea Power Station. Not only is it taking lifeless space “back from the dead” but it tackles problems such as loneliness, mental and physical ill-health because it has been designed with community in mind. Whether from a physical, an emotional or a cultural perspective it will become an environment centred on wellbeing. The new space is all about interaction with over 100,000 sq ft of community and leisure space, including parks, sky gardens, allotments, water features, playgrounds and river frontage, all benefitting mind body and soul, as well as adding exhibition and event spaces that are yet to be explored.
We have also recently seen cities being built as brands. Cities such as Amsterdam, Melbourne and Porto in Portugal have each been rebranded with a distinct visual identity, knitting their heritage with their modern day image, to be used on everything from their advertising to their bus stops to the local City Hall. Great design is changing the way we connect to our environments, building better communities and safer locations, facilitating a change in use, a change in behaviour and transforming people’s lives for the better.
At Underscore we believe it is imperative to think experience first. We do this by developing user strategy and design solutions that create memorable locations, and with our unrivalled experience of building brands out of buildings and turning districts into destinations, we can reform the communities of tomorrow.