One Place: The Value of Placemaking and Placebranding

2.5 min read 

Americans are more mobile than ever, moving to places that sync with their preferred lifestyles. According to the Urban Land Institute (ULI), half of Americans plan on moving in the next 5 years. Half. That's hundreds of millions of people. Because of that, cities, communities, and towns are having to compete for relevance and appeal to potential residents more than ever before. Community leaders know that placemaking is vital to their success—beautiful architecture, smart design, character-infused streets, amenities that fit the population. But there’s another critical piece of the puzzle that is just as vital to their success: placebranding.

2015 Urban Land Institute (ULI) study.

2015 Urban Land Institute (ULI) study.

At Vista Growth, we have done corporate brand strategy for years and have found that certain fundamentals work. Interestingly, we have found that most of the same brand principles apply to community development, working in tandem with placemaking. Doing the two together makes the vision and narrative of the community clear to future buyers. Vision, identity, narrative, and placemaking must all be in alignment and clear as a bell. When people pick a place to live, they pick a story. A story that aligns with the life they aspire to have.

We saw that strategic placebranding was absent from the market and decided to push the conversation forward. We have pulled together our thoughts as well as other expert perspectives—quotes, stats, and success stories—to help illuminate the benefits of this approach for placemakers and developers. The result is 'One Place', a colorful, casebound, beautifully illustrated book by our own Steve Beshara, designed to inspire and inform throughout its 68 pages. 

"For many years, I've been a student of unique communities and their development, identity, and evolution. I've observed success and failure. It is more difficult and riskier to be innovative and different, but ultimately the returns can be greater, more gratifying. But it takes a lot of courage to seek greatness," states Steve Beshara, Vista Growth founder. 

"Our teams have worked alongside courageous leaders who aspire to create special places. To create greatness and differentiation, we manage development opportunities like a brand. We combine placemaking (planners, architects, builders, investors) and placebranding (strategists, designers, storytellers, videographers) to cast a vision, communicate a narrative, and amplify to buyers so they can easily embrace great communities over mediocre ones."


Citizens are demanding more. It's not enough to have the "if you build it, they will come" mentality anymore. In a sea of options, consumers are shopping around for that one place that truly checks all of the boxes. It's vital that community developers understand not only what buyers want in a home architecturally, but how they can connect with the narrative of the community and ultimately call it 'home'.  

We encourage you to stop by Vista HQ and pick up a copy of 'One Place' or order it online. Explore how you can apply brand strategy to placemaking for a competitive edge. Share your feedback with us, we’re eager to push the conversation of 'One Place' further.

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