Launched in 2018, the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking aims to inspire public, private, and civic sector leaders to make place-based investments that generate widespread social and economic benefits.

Over the past several decades, planners, community development groups, and other place-focused organizations have elevated the importance of density, proximity, and placemaking in fostering more economically, socially, and environmentally responsible development. For all their successes, however, those efforts have been constrained by policies and investment structures that are failing to leverage shifting demographic and economic trends to build broad-based community wealth.

In response, the Bass Center is collaborating with a wide range of organizations to advance a new form of integrated practice for creating more connected, vibrant, and inclusive communities. To this end, transformative placemaking endeavors to:

  • nurture an economic ecosystem that is regionally connected, innovative, and rooted in the assets of local residents and businesses;
  • support a built environment that is accessible, flexible, and advances community healthy and resiliency;
  • foster a vibrant, cohesive social environment that is reflective of community history and identity​; and
  • encourage civic structures that are locally-organized, inclusive, and support network building​.

To help deliver on the promise of transformative placemaking, the Bass Center provides research, tools, and insights that demonstrate:

  • Why transformative placemaking can promote better outcomes for people and economies. We examine the changing place needs of workers, businesses, and institutions; the economic, physical, and social implications of these shifts; and how  place-based policies and investments can lead to greater growth, prosperity, and inclusion in cities and regions. 
  • Where to prioritize transformative placemaking investments. We develop new methods for assessing communities’ distinct assets, and for using that knowledge to target resources in ways that leverage their strongest opportunities, address their most pressing needs, and strengthen connectivity within and between them. 
  • How to support and advance model approaches to transformative placemaking. We document, co-create, and disseminate information and insights on place-based practices and pioneering policies intentionally aimed at creating economic, social, and built environments that benefit more people in more places.

Through these activities, the Bass Center acts as a hub of thought leadership and practical knowledge on the intersection of place, placemaking, and inclusive economy building; and as a resource for public, private, and civic sector leaders who want to advance transformative, place-led systems change.