Think about the special places you’ve visited: from New York’s Central Park to a private garden enclave in Charleston. Think how there was something spiritual, inviting and intimate about them. They allow visitors to experience and participate in life on a more profound level.

This is the essence of Placemaking. It’s a process of integrating landscape, structures and people into an environment that reflects a deeper meaning and a distinct character.

The idea can be traced back to the Romans, who referred to genius loci, literally a “Spirit of Place.” Thoughtfully designed places, they believed, had a protective, guardian spirit that nurtured life. The concept encompassed the spiritual characteristics of a place (history, traditions, culture), the tangible attributes (natural setting, architecture, walkways, roads, etc.), and the social aspects (the mix and flow of living beings).