- Findings from the Assembly Civic Engagement Survey (ACES), through the Center for Active Design, indicate that people living near well-maintained parks are more 14% more likely to show satisfaction with local police and 13% more likely to report satisfaction with their mayor. Living within a 10-minute walk was also shown to positively correlate with stewardship.
- High levels of litter corresponded with a 10-point decrease in civic pride and a 4-point decrease in trust of local government.
- The study indicated that vacant lots present obstacles for cites — but that vacant lots also provided an opportunity to increase the perception that the city cares about the community, that people trust the police and that residents believe the local government will do what's right.
The results of this study indicate that placemaking is just as important for smart cities as are open data or drones and software. As Jason Schupbach, the new director of the Design School at Arizona State University, recently told Smart Cities Dive, placemaking can "help be that bridge between the community and the tech company, or whoever's trying to come in and do sometihng." A city with beautifully-managed databases and efficient public transport won't be a city that people feel proud of or want to live in if the tenants of placemaking are ignored.
To truly empower residents and citizens, and to avoid failing those same groups, smart cities need to embrace a broad range of strategies that includes active placemaking so that the form of a city doesn't become lost in the function.