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Image: The Koffler Gallery, Artscape Youngplace. Photo credit: Garrison McArthur Photographers.

Creative Placemaking Lab

The Creative Placemaking Lab is an innovation department at Artscape focused on leveraging art & culture for community development. We experiment with forms of citybuilding that span multiple disciplines – arts, urban planning, community engagement, financial innovation, and others – and work by convening partnerships with philanthropists, private developers, community activists, non-profits and the public sector. Through this process we generate innovative initiatives, act as planning partners, publish research and build the capacity of our clients.

What is Creative Placemaking?

Placemaking is a practice advanced by urbanist Jane Jacobs and others in the 1960s that promoted multi-dimensional approaches to planning, designing and managing public spaces. NYC-based Project for Public Spaces has helped rekindle interest in placemaking and expand its adoption in the urban development community over the past few decades.

Artscape coined the term “creative placemaking” in 2006 to assert that there is a legitimate field of theory and practice underpinning its work. The notion behind creative placemaking is not simply about undertaking placemaking in a creative way, but rather it is about leveraging art and culture as a catalyst for urban and community development. Today there is a global community of practice using creative placemaking approaches to develop stronger, more dynamic and inclusive communities.

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Learn Creative Placemaking

Innovations in Creative Space and Placemaking is a deeply immersive journey focusing on new approaches to building and sustaining space for culture, from June 4 – 8, 2018. It will feature some of Toronto’s most interesting cultural spaces and focus in on innovations and lessons learned.

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Artscape DIY is our knowledge-sharing website packed with resources for creative placemakers. You’ll find downloadable templates and examples, case studies, videos, guides and articles to help you through the complex and risky business of developing sustainable, affordable space for culture and creativity that contributes to the transformation and revitalization of communities.


Artscape’s Mentorship and Coaching program is designed to build the capacity of organizations across Canada and internationally to develop the strategic, organizational and individual leadership skills to grow a creative space development organization and/or multi-tenanted creative and cultural facilities in their community.

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Creative Placemaking Services

Artscape’s project incubation services help new cultural sector not-for-profits get off the ground. In an incubation role, Artscape works alongside the new organization to build their capacity, providing assistance in areas such as staffing, developing governance structures and establishing boards, feasibility analysis and business plan development, and building momentum with fund development.

Artscape has most recently been engaged as project advisor to The Bentway Conservancy, incubating the new not-for-profit organization that will maintain, operate and program The Bentway. The project is transforming the neglected area underneath Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway into a thriving cultural and civic attraction.


Artscape’s senior team provides consulting and advisory services to communities across Canada and beyond. Our expertise embraces diverse approaches to creative placemaking and cultural facility development. We have advised and consulted with municipalities, communities and organizations around the world to support their work in developing strategies to engage creative placemaking as a tool for community change and transformation, and to explore the potential development of multi-tenant centres, cultural incubators, artist housing and community cultural hubs.

Organizations working with Artscape benefit from direct access to the experience we’ve gained over 30 years in practice. We have a proven track record and brand recognition for planning, developing and operating a wide range of sustainable and successful models.


Artscape integrates practical expertise with original research and international collaborations. We lead and contribute to strategic research projects that impact our own practice, build strategic partnerships and develop the evidence base for the sector, and advance the practice of creative placemaking.

In 2017, the World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF) engaged Artscape as a partner and research advisor on its Making Space for Culture program, which is developing solutions to assist global cities in understanding and addressing the affordability crisis, one of the biggest challenges facing culture in world cities according to the WCCF. Through this work, WCCF and Artscape will help build knowledge about the ecosystems of cultural spaces, and develop a toolkit of policies, strategies and approaches to building a better enabling environment to support them.

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