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Winter Places: A Design Guide for Winter Placemaking

Winter Places: A Design Guide for Winter Placemaking

A design challenge for winter placemaking generating ideas and designs for innovative, quickly implementable, low cost interventions.

Editor's Note: Winter Places was designed by Patronicity’s Bench Consulting team in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, however these ideas and interventions continue to be relevant for cities looking to engage their communities in colder months. We hope you continue to use this resource as a guide for your community!

As COVID-19 restrictions and public safety concerns limit indoor activities for restaurants, entertainment, public events and social gatherings, communities have adapted by expanding into the outdoors. This lifeline, perfect during the warmer spring and summer months, becomes more challenging during the impending colder, darker winter months… But it's time to change our relationship with winter outdoors!

Enter, Winter Places, a design challenge for winter placemaking, sought ideas and designs for innovative, quickly implementable, low cost interventions to drive visitors back to Main Streets to support area restaurants and small businesses. This program and its success wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our partners in what has become an international collaboration to bring new life to our main streets and downtowns.

Since July 2020, our team has worked together to compile this resource and develop this guide. Thank you to every single student, team, architect, landscape architect, designer and artist who submitted a concept to Winter Places. We received submissions from 65 individuals or teams from 6 countries and couldn’t be more thrilled to see this cross border, and cross continent collaboration to help extend a lifeline to our main streets and commercial centers during these extraordinary times.

The information contained in the guide is designed to support cities, towns, main streets, BIDS/BIAS, non-profit organizations, community groups, businesses and others in reimagining what’s possible this winter on their main streets and commercial districts. We encourage all communities to employ strategies to change mentalities around how we approach winter. Encourage personal warmth as a policy… wear layers to spend time outdoors and bring a blanket for extra warmth (wool is best)! Look to implement projects in areas that get as much sun as possible during the day time and try to also factor in typical wind directions and wind tunnels in the area when choosing installation locations.

Together, let's make this our first winter of many where we approach the winter with a positive attitude instead of hibernating indoors, welcoming the 4th season as one to enjoy and look forward to. One where we embrace the outdoors, embrace our communities and reconnect with our small businesses and neighbors again.

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