Nature-Based Placemaking: A Natural Asset Focused Community Vibrancy Roadmap


  • Ross D Greedy Michigan State University
  • Elizabeth E. Perry Michigan State University
  • Lissy Goralnik Michigan State University
  • Julie Fitzpatrick Pennsylvania Downtown Center



community vibrancy, economic development, nature-based placemaking, outdoor recreation


This paper explores opportunities for outdoor recreation and education programs to support communities working to sustain or increase community vibrancy. Vibrancy is necessarily linked to our natural environment and the quality of and access to natural environments can impact community vibrancy outcomes. Outdoor recreation access and experiences support relationships with place via natural assets. A community’s natural assets and associated recreation, ecosystem services, economic, and broader wellbeing benefits collectively serve to elevate community vibrancy. Nature-based Placemaking (NBP) is an emerging community development framework that builds on a community’s natural assets to bolster community vibrancy. NBP could serve as a roadmap for nature-based community vibrancy efforts, providing direction and considerations for navigating vibrancy related challenges and opportunities. This work provides an NBP overview, outlines embedded concepts that informed development of the framework, explores its initial application, and poses questions and pathways for expanding and refining the NBP framework for broader applicability.


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