Commonwealth Places

MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places program is a competitive opportunity to advance locally driven placemaking in downtown and neighborhood commercial districts in communities throughout Massachusetts. Placemaking is a collaborative process through which people in communities work together to improve vacant, underutilized, or repurposed publicly -accessible spaces and maximize their shared value. The process facilitates creative patterns of use, and leverages the local physical, cultural, and social assets that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.

Commonwealth Places is part of the Community One Stop for Growth, a single application portal and collaborative review process of community development grant programs that makes targeted investments based on a Development Continuum.

Funding Categories

Commonwealth Places will make awards through two funding categories:

Seed Grants 
Seed grants are used to fund inclusive community engagement, visioning, and local capacity-building that will directly support future placemaking efforts. Projects should focus on promoting an inclusive participation process within the planning, positioning, or activities that will support those efforts. A seed project should ultimately lead to the improvement of vacant, underutilized, or repurposed publicly -accessible spaces.

  • MassDevelopment will award seed grants of between $2,500 and $15,000. A 1:1 local match, either cash or in-kind, is required.

Implementation Grants 
Implementation grants are used to support the implementation of locally -led placemaking projects by covering costs for physical assets, programmatic expenses, or other items and services related to the actual execution of a project. Projects should improve or enhance vacant, underutilized, or repurposed publicly -accessible spaces and must relate to local economic and community development priorities that are contextual to the city, town, or neighborhood.

  • MassDevelopment will award implementation grants of between $5,000 and $50,000. A 1:1 local cash match is required.

Key Dates and Deadlines

  • Expressions of Interest Open December 14, 2022
  • Expression of Interest submissions accepted through March 17, 2023
  • Full Application Available: January 2023
  • Full Application Submission Period Open: May 2023
  • Full Application Submission Period Closes: June 2, 2023
  • Review & Evaluation: June-September 2023
  • Notification of Award: October/November 2023
  • Anticipated Contracting: November/December 2023

program guidelines

program webinar

apply for commonwealth places

For more information:

Nick Giaquinto, TDI Operations Officer