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Intermediate-Level Placemaking Recipes

9 pop-up demonstration projects that can inspire better spaces

This article is an excerpt from The Pop-Up Placemaking Tool Kit, a free publication by AARP and the planning and design firm Team Better Block. The intermediate-level projects shown below are good for people who know their way around a toolbox, can assemble a team and have neighborhood support.

All photos by Team Better Block



A bulbout is a traffic-calming structure that extends a sidewalk, thereby reducing the crossing distance and enabling motorists to see pedestrians when a parked vehicle might otherwise obstruct their view.


Bethel, Vermont

Farmers Markets

Organizing a market where area farmers can sell their produce and goods helps residents support local growers, fosters healthy eating in neighborhoods that lack fresh produce choices and can even spur economic activity in struggling communities.

Blackburn Farmers Market

Columbus, Ohio

Identity Crosswalks

While crosswalks typically consist of white lines on dark pavement, color and creativity can also be used. For instance, depictions of colorful fruit brighten this path in the Fruit Belt neighborhood.

Identity Crosswalk

Buffalo, New York

Identity Signage

Many neighborhoods have distinctive names but, often, no signage telling passersby where they are. Identity signage can help visitors get their bearings and become a landmark (and social media magnet) in its own right.

Town Identity Signage

Hanover, Pennsylvania

Intersectional Mural

Street art (as in art that is created in and on the street) serves as a place marker and traffic calming solution. An intersection or on-street mural can be maintained by the community or repainted with a new design periodically.

Greensboro Mural

Greensboro, North Carolina

Pop-Up Plazas

Closing a section of a street to cars can “parkify” it and make it a place especially for people. In many spaces, all that’s needed is some plants and patio-style furnishings.

Pop-Up Plaza

Akron, Ohio

Semi-Permanent Wayfinding

The beginner section of this recipe catalog includes a description of wayfinding (aka directional signage) and shows a temporary, easy-to-create sign. Semi-permanent wayfinding signs can help define a place through the use of color and distinctive design.

Wayfinding Signage

Des Moines, Iowa

Street Plazas

Closing a lightly traveled street to vehicular traffic can turn the roadway into a destination with fun activities, interesting sights and, ideally, plenty of good food.

Street Plaza

Fort Worth, Texas

Transit Stops

Bus stops, taxi stands and designated ride-sharing pickup areas can be designed to shelter passengers in unique, locally related ways.

Bethel Vermont Bus Stop

Bethel, Vermont

Find "recipes" for how to create the projects shown above:

Page published November 2019

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