Commonwealth Places provides a creative funding mechanism to advance community placemaking projects throughout Massachusetts. The statewide program will help fund place-based, community-driven projects – art installations, parks, bike trails, markets, and more – that revitalize downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. Successful projects must activate a new or underused public or community space, and the program will give preference to permanent physical projects. The program aims to engage and mobilize community members to make individual contributions through a crowdfunding platform with the incentive of a dollar-for-dollar funding match (up to $50,000) from MassDevelopment if the crowdfunding goal is reached within 60 days.
Projects can be proposed by local public or nonprofit sponsors. Once a project has been approved, Patronicity (MassDevelopment’s consultant) will assist project sponsors with their fundraising efforts to help ensure successful crowdfunding campaigns.
Communities across the Commonwealth are eligible to apply. Preference will be given to projects located in census tracts where the average household income is less than 120 percent of the Area Median Income. Otherwise, projects must demonstrate how they will otherwise serve low- and moderate-income individuals.
For more information about applying to the Commonwealth Places Program, please refer to the program guidelines and eligibility map below.
What is Placemaking?
Placemaking aims to improve the quality of public places and the lives of communities through a participatory process. While urban design and economic development is central to placemaking, the most significant component is the community process and programming that can facilitate social interaction, spark public discourse and increase local capacity and engagement. Increasingly, placemaking has been used to revitalize commercial districts using these small, community-driven investments that leverage economic growth and development.
What is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is an increasingly-used tool by which private organizations and public entities are able to fund projects ranging from consumer products to public space improvements. This, in effect, has democratized the raising of capital by allowing the public to monetarily support initiatives. Simply, it allows the public to vote with their wallets. By tapping a large donor pool for small donations, organizations are able to better leverage funds. Further, crowdfunding engages the public to play a part in achieving community improvements and instills community pride as residents become invested in their surroundings.
Crowdfunding for Placemaking in Action
The following links provide examples of the type of placemaking projects that have been funding through a similar crowdfunding initiative in Michigan. Communities in Massachusetts are invited to submit projects similar to the ones featured in these videos but are also encouraged to propose creative placemaking projects that are unique to your community!
- Brightmoor Maker Space
- The Brightmoor Community Kitchen
- Co+Work Downtown Flint
- Michigan Avenue Under the Bridge