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In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, where you live, recreate, and shop is more important than ever. In addition to reinventing one’s space on an individual level, there is an effort to embrace placemaking to better address needs of a community and create shared value.
“Placemaking” is a concept that has circled around the urban planning community for some time but is finally becoming more prevalent in the larger sustainability lexicon. Project for Public Spaces defines placemaking as “…an overarching idea and a hands-on approach for improving a neighborhood, city, or region.” Placemaking is about the reinvention of public spaces that are at the center of a community. The Project for Public Spaces emphasizes the importance of shared value in the process of placemaking; collaboration is key in ensuring that needs are met. Placemaking is about facilitating “creative patterns of use, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.”
Placemaking can look like a lot of things. Some local Boston area examples include:
According to the US SIF Foundation Biennial Report of U.S. Sustainable, Responsible, and Impact Investing Trends, community investing is already one of impact investing’s fastest growing sectors. Community investing can happen through philanthropy efforts, grants, and Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs). Opportunity Finance Network defines CDFI’s as “…private financial institutions that are 100% dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable lending to help low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities join the economic mainstream.”
You can include CDFI’s within your investment strategy starting today! A good starting point is to reach out to your advisor and express an interest in dedicating a percentage of your portfolio toward CDFIs. Each CDFI will support a different mix of causes, but you can find CDFI’s near you and identify their key causes here.
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