Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

Make 2023 the Year You Apply for an NAR Placemaking Grant

Increased funding and expanded options for projects make applying for a grant even easier.

The Community Outreach team and the Leadership Team of the National Association of REALTORS® have listened to your feedback and made some significant changes to the NAR Placemaking Grants.

Starting on January 3, 2023, funding for the Level 1 Placemaking Grant will increase from $1,500 to $3,000. Funding for the Level 2 Placemaking Grant will increase from $5,000 to $7,500. The increases in funding will help to cover the rising costs of labor and materials for construction projects. In addition, the guidelines for the grant have now been expanded so that more projects will be eligible for grants. Previously, Placemaking Grants could only fund the creation of an entirely new gathering space. The Placemaking Grant now allows for the funding of new gathering spaces and the funding of community asset improvements such as street benches, lamps, and wayfinding signs, as well as improvements to existing spaces.

All state and local REALTOR® associations are eligible to apply for NAR Placemaking Grants.

So if you are interested in learning more about the grant, read on!

The Basics

NAR Placemaking Grants are used to transform unused or underused sites into vibrant new gathering places. So if there is a plot of land in your community (a vacant lot, a parking lot, an alley, an underpass, etc.) that gets no use or sparse use—or is an eyesore—you can use a Placemaking Grant to help change that space into something new and welcoming like a dog park, pocket park, playground, community garden, pedestrian plaza, or a trail or trailhead. Placemaking Grants can also be used this year to add standalone amenities to existing sites, such as benches/seating, lights, and wayfinding signs. Rehabilitation projects and improvements to existing spaces are also eligible.

Key points to remember:

  • The site used for the Placemaking Grant must be on public land, and it must be outdoors.
  • The site must be accessible to everyone, and the site should not charge admission.
  • Associations can apply for one grant per level per year. So each association can apply for one Level 1 grant and one Level 2 grant in 2023.
  • Temporary projects and permanent projects are eligible, and it is also possible (and encouraged!) to convert a temporary project into a permanent project.
  • New public gathering places should have at least three amenities so that people of all interests and abilities can enjoy the site. For example, a dog park will automatically have a space for dogs to run and exercise. It is helpful to include benches and landscaping (or plantings), for example, so that people without dogs can also enjoy the park. Artwork is another potential amenity that can be added to many projects.
  • Public works projects like pools are not eligible. If the project is something that would typically be offered by your local Parks and Recreation department, it would likely not be eligible for a Placemaking Grant. The purpose of the grant is to create small “gems” throughout a community.

Examples of Placemaking Projects

1. Community Gardens

2. Pocket Parks

3. Dog Parks

4. Playgrounds

5. Alley Activations

6. Trails and Trailheads

7. Safety and Walkability Projects

The above are some of the most common examples, and more examples can be found on the Spaces to Places blog. In addition, we are always open to new and creative ideas, and projects don’t have to be limited to what is shown here! If you have any ideas you would like to discuss, please reach out to Catherine Mesick at


Placemaking Grants are also a wonderful way to boost your association’s advocacy goals. Offering to partner with local officials on a new gathering space for the benefit of the entire community can help you build long-term relationships and demonstrate the value of the REALTOR® brand. Placemaking projects can also help spur economic development—once there is one new bright spot in a community, others often follow.

How to Apply

State and local REALTOR® association staff can apply for a Level 1 or Level 2 Placemaking Grant on the REALTOR® Party’s Placemaking Grant page.

Please direct questions to or Catherine Mesick,


Community Outreach Programs

Housing Opportunity Grant
Housing Opportunity Grants support state and local REALTOR® Associations’ affordable housing activities. The goal of the program is to position REALTORS® as leaders in improving their communities by creating affordable housing

Smart Growth Grant
Smart growth is an approach to development that encourages a mix of building types and uses, diverse housing and transportation options, development within existing neighborhoods, and community engagement. The Smart Growth Program offers state and local REALTOR® Associations to way to engage with government officials, community partners and the general public in planning and designing community’s future.

Planned diversity initiatives makes good business sense. REALTOR® Associations with well-planned diversity programs create a stronger sense of community, particularly in neighborhoods with high concentrations of foreign-born and minority residents who are moving up the socioeconomic ladder and are buying homes.

NAR Placemaking Resources

Placemaking Guide: A Guide to Transform a Public Space into a Community Place
REALTORS® and state and local association staff can learn the details of Placemaking, the kinds of projects placemaking entails, how to organize them, and where to go for assistance and resources.

Placemaking Webinar Series
Our Placemaking Webinar Series will provide more in depth information on the various types of Placemaking and how REALTORS® were involved in Placemaking activities in their communities.

Placemaking Grant
The Placemaking Grant funds the creation of new public spaces, like pocket parks, trails & gardens, in a community. The grant focuses on “lighter, cheaper, quicker” placemaking projects, which can be built under a year and cost less  than $200,000.

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Smart Growth

The healthier a community, the better the environment for REALTORS®. Keeping a community attractive, livable and functioning well is a complex task.