Ethan Kent


Successful urban development is usually anchored by vital public spaces where people naturally want to gather: a crossroads or a main street, third place business, public market, waterfront wharf, library, railway station, campus, agora, piazza, or civic square. These spaces become truly magnetic places when they provide purpose and meaning for the broad groups of people they serve. Public places are most dynamic—and most enduring—when they showcase and boost a community’s unique public life, economy, and culture. This is especially true when the people using them are involved in their creation, continual re-creation, management, and governance. This is the essence of placemaking. Great public spaces happen through community-driven placemaking and place-led governance. These great places are the foundation of great communities, which in turn are the building blocks of a prosperous, equitable, and resilient society.


How to Cite
Kent, E. (2019) “Leading urban change with people powered public spaces. The history, and new directions, of the Placemaking movement”, The Journal of Public Space, 4(1), pp. 127–134. doi: 10.32891/jps.v4i1.1158.
Author Biography

Ethan Kent, PlacemakingX and Project for Public Spaces

Ethan Kent works to support public space organizations, projects, and leadership around the world to build a global placemaking movement. Ethan has traveled to more than 900 cities and 60 countries to advance the cause of leading urban development with inclusive public spaces and placemaking. In 2019 he co-founded PlacemakingX to network, amplify, and accelerate placemaking leadership and impact globally. Ethan has been integral to the development of placemaking as a transformative approach to economic development, environmentalism, transportation planning, governance, resilience, social equity, design, digital space, and innovation.