The Dollars And Sense Of Placemaking

A woman and a man are playing a game of table tennis on the ICON outdoor ping pong table in Calgary, Canada

How Art, Culture And Ping Pong Placemaking Is Generating Economic Value

POPP tables are not just a pretty face in a park. Okay, sure, they do look incredibly eye-catching with their bold artworks and iconic shape, but beyond the aesthetic is growing evidence around how POPP tables – through the culture, urban design, art and connectedness they provide – are generating real, economic value for communities.

While the health and social benefits of ping pong and physical activity are well documented (both in communities and for schools), researchers are beginning to cast their focus on measuring the economic value placemaking – in all its forms – brings to local communities. And it goes deeper and farther than you might think.

Five evidence-backed ways placemaking adds real value to a community:

  • Investing in placemaking = increased nearby property values by up to 22%*1
  • Designed and maintained public spaces = reduction in crime rates and violence = safer places to play and relax*2
  • Spending $1 on public spaces = $20.84 worth of economic benefits*3
  • Engaging public space attracts new businesses and developments in surrounding areas*4
  • Opportunities for physical activity in communities = reduction of healthcare costs by up to $1.5 billion per annum*4

Placemaking not only creates assets that generate savings and income for property owners and managers, it becomes a vital tool in the long-term cultivation of thriving, engaged and attractive communities where people want to live, work and play. By placing outdoor ping pong tables, and collaborating with artists to create Public Playable Art tables, a community ping pong hub is planted that can be tended to through programming – or left to its own devices in daily life. Whichever the path, the evidence shows that this community-investing step will turn a profit.


*1 Trust for Public Land, “Measuring the Economic Value of a City Park System”, April 2009

*2 National Institute of Justice, “Disorder in Urban Neighborhoods – Does It Lead to Crime?”, February 2001

*3 Trust For Public Land, “Economic Benefit Reports”

*4 UN Habitat, “For a Better Urban Future”

*5 Medibank Private, “The Cost of Physical Activity. What is the Lack of Participation in Physical Activity Costing Australia?”, August 2007

 

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