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Placemaking involves taking positive steps to create a built environment which benefits everyone. “Making spaces and buildings for people, as opposed to only the practical processes which go on in buildings, is how the built environment becomes place” (Architecture and Design Scotland, 2017, p.2) Anywhere architecture, where developments look the same wherever they are in the world, are not vernacular in any way and form the opposite of placemaking, with little thinking into how the development may affect the surrounding environment. In the UK placemaking is closely aligned with urban regeneration policy initiatives, (The Scottish Government, 2013, Welsh Government Historic Environment Service, 2017, PAS, 2018), whilst in America it is often grouped with the arts, as creative placemaking is deemed to be part of arts-based community development initiatives (Nicodemus, 2013).

Cultural planning is very much part of this process, and sits well with the aim to “integrate culture across all aspects of municipal planning” (McDonough, Alexandra, Wekerle, 2011, p.31). Efforts to create positive placemaking interventions include “public art, pop-up art, arts programming, and civic design” (Ashley, 2014, p.6), as well as “using multi-disciplinary teams.. designing for adaptability and refurbishment.. (and) encourag(ing) diversity and mixed use” (Architecture and Design Scotland, 2017, pp.2–3). Within the context of a city of culture, placemaking is part of the “cultural turn” of policy; culture based interventions can be a tool for placemaking, and using methods which aim to understand the cultural assets of an area help in this process, if used openly and positively (there are concerns that some tools are used “opportunistically… in the systematic pursuit of political, economic and cultural advantage” (Law and Ruppert, 2013, p.239)) Thus, the branding of an area as cultural may attach a placemaking label which differs from the local perception (Boland, 2010) and creates tensions (Aiello and Thurlow, 2006, Perkins, 2009), as “to make a place attractive, there is the need to ‘do and label’, that is improving reality” (Pasquinelli, 2012, p.2).