Placemaking: Enriching highstreets and bosting retail spend

Why do retailers value placemaking and city dressing?

We explore the importance of placemaking to the retail sector and look into the calendar of key events and dates for the remainder of 2023.  

Our placemaking experts share thoughts and ideas on how you can leverage these events, using placemaking to boost footfall, increase dwell time to create an exceptional visitor experience.  

Firstly, what is placemaking

Creative placemaking and city dressing enlivens a featured public space.  It rejuvenates structures and streetscapes and improves local business viability.   

It brings diverse people together to inspire and be inspired. Urban design and the wider public realm can be complimented by intelligent use of placemaking activations such as flags, use of green space, building wraps, artwork and more.

The goal of effective placemaking is to enhance our built environment, ensuring places are active interesting and visually attractive for all stakeholders.  Placemaking encourages a person to stay, linger and enjoy a space for a longer period of time. 

The Power of Placemaking

The placemaking mix

There are many effective placemaking and city dressing solutions that can help improve the aesthetics of the high street to encourage footfall.  The placemaking mix is a toolkit of options that can be used to deliver a placemaking or city dressing projects, including:

  • Events and activations
  • Performance art
  • Celebrations and gatherings
  • Urban greening 
  • Large outdoor lettering 
  • Signage and wayfinding
  • Experiential displays
  • Pop-up markets
  • Art installations and exhibitions
  • Lighting and illuminations
  • Architectural lighting
  • Flags, banners and bunting
  • Seasonal outdoor events
  • Outdoor beaches

Why is placemaking important to the high street

High quality urban planning and placemaking can make or break the retail offer.  High competition for shoppers means that every commercial and retail offer needs to stand out from the crowd, creating a cohesive sense of place.  This needs to be supported by successful place marketing, communications and community engagement.  

A study by Pathintelligence showed that “there is a significant and positive relationship between dwell time and sales“. They found that a 1% increase in dwell time resulted in a 1.3% increase in sales.  

The benefits of placemaking can reach beyond economic performance to have a profound positive effect on the local community or region.  It can improve wellbeing bring residents, visitors and neighborhoods together.

Field and Lawn can support you with all aspects of the placemaking mix

Key retail activation dates for 2023

The second half of 2023 brings many opportunities for retailers and high streets to boost footfall and dwell time by using placemaking to maximize key days and special occasions. 

Opportunities in august

August brings the last bank holiday weekend of the summer,  The Women’s FIFA World Cup also concludes in August and we are optimistic of our Lionesses going all the way.  Women’s football is rapidly growing in popularity and it’s not too late to show your colours with banners, flags and bunting. The 19th August is world photography day.  

Each year, World Photography Day has a theme, in 2023 the theme is “Understanding Clouds”  

Placemaking is a great way to showcase photography and art and Field and Lawn have brought many artists visions to life by installing large scale public art installations such as our work with The Photographers Gallery:

finished art installation for the photographers' gallery in London
A large outdoor art installation in London

Ideas for September

bunting

Thousands of children return to school in September, it can be a real opportunity for the high street as stationary, uniforms and backpack sales boom. The 27th of September also marks World Tourism Day which gives an opportunity to really shine a spotlight on your area to encourage tourism. 

As the summer months draw to a close, September sees some of the last large festivals of the year take place, including The End of the Road Festival.  Make the most of the last weeks of summer and drive footfall to your local high street.

Placemaking options in October

an illuminated Halloween outdoor display

Black History Month takes place during October.  The 10th October is also World Mental Health Awareness day.  Placemaking can play a significant part in marking awareness months and days.  Bespoke messaging can be created and installed in many innovative ways, from building wraps to artwork. 

As the nights draw in Halloween takes place on the 31st October 2023 and presents a fun opportunity to deliver some creative placemaking!  From illuminated selfie spots through to giant pumpkins, and haunted houses, we can help create some Halloween magic.  

November activations

Projection mapping used on a building

There are a number of significant events in November, firstly bonfire night where firework displays prove to be a popular draw.  When is bonfire night this year? Bonfire Night falls on  Sunday 5th November 2023.  It is expected that the vast majority of displays will take place on Saturday 4th November.  

Alternatives to firework displays

Firework displays no doubt create a real sense of occasion, they can be exhilarating and wonderful spectacles.  However, in recent years there has been a growing focus on animal wellbeing and environmental and sustainability concerns about firework displays.  The cost of living crisis has also put more scrutiny on Local Authorities due to the cost of organising expensive firework displays.  

An alternative to firework displays could be a bespoke projection mapping experience which could take place over several nights, providing a safer, more sustainable and longer term alternative to firework displays.  

Remembrance Sunday takes place on Sunday 12th November.  The poppy is the symbol of remembrance.  Outdoor artwork displays have been a focal point in recent years.

November one of the busiest retail months of the year with Black Friday and Cyber Monday falling on the 24th November 2023 and 27th November 2023 respectively.  While online sales will no doubt take the lion share of retail spend, instore promotions and activations are 

Placemaking in December

December needs no introduction in the retail calendar.  It is the biggest and most important time of the year for lots of reasons!  Festive lighting is one of the most influential ways to create a unique atmosphere across the public realm.  

Placemaking and festive lighting go hand in hand and Field and Lawn have a track record of delivering exceptional festive lighting displays across the UK.  We light up most of the key retail streets in London including Oxford Street!  Take a look at what we delivered in 2022!  

About fIELD AND LAWN

Field and Lawn are one of the leading placemaking and city dressing providers in the UK.  With four regional branches across, we provide a nationwide service.  Our experienced team can assist in a wide range of placemaking projects.  Beyond placemaking, we also provide festive lighting services, event marquees and temporary buildings.  

Field and Lawn take a collaborative approach and work with Business Improvement Districts, Local Authorities, Landscape Architects, community groups, artists and other stakeholders to plan, create, install and manage successful placemaking and city dressing projects.  With expertise across a range of sectors, Field and Lawn deliver a wide range of placemaking solutions across the United Kingdom.  

With a track record of successful placemaking projects, are perfectly positioned to support and deliver your placemaking and city dressing projects. We understand the challenges that come with adapting to our evolving high streets and retail centres. There is a growing need to create welcoming and engaging experiences that will encourage people to reconnect with their local community.