As we leave summer, and welcome fall, we are reminded that the cold and snowy season is just around the corner. Why dread it, when we can embrace it! Winter placemaking is the active reimagining and repurposing of parks and public spaces during our coldest season to make winter an inviting and social time of the year for everyone.
Communities of all sizes have been making the most out of winter, like Wells, British Columbia, a town of 217 people that ensure walking routes for seniors are a priority plowing route. Or Libby, Montana, a town of 2,700 who used an AARP Community Challenge Grant to install a warming hut and new trail signage for a fun and safe way to spend more time outdoors in winter.
Small and rural communities have proven their creativity in winter by embracing their assets, as seen in the Mainely Outdoors Program in the Town of New Vineyard, Maine, population of 776. The program was created through the skills of a local outdoorsman and supported by the public library and the power of volunteers.
Communities of all sizes can embrace Winter Placemaking by taking an Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) approach. Individual, cultural, institutional, organizational and physical assets are all present in small towns, big cities, and rural communities, but it takes an engaged community to embrace and mobilize these assets. The Winter Placemaking Guide highlights stories from communities of all sizes who have creatively activated their public spaces in the wintertime for the benefit of residents of all ages and backgrounds. The guide provides steps to implementing inclusive Winter Placemaking in your community.
It’s not too early to start thinking about winter. It’s right around the corner! Start prepping for winter by reading our Winter Placemaking Guide. Thank you to AARP for your support and inspiration.