Creative Placemaking

What is Creative Placemaking?

CREATIVE PLACEMAKING for the Riverside Park Neighborhood is led by New London Landmarks, with the City of New London and a coalition of Riverside Park Conservancy, the Neighborhood Alliance and all who care about Re-Connecting this area of New London with the City. This project is made possible by a grant from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and the Office of the Arts.

DECD logo

According to the National Endowment for the Arts: Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire and be inspired.

In turn, these creative locales foster entrepreneurs and cultural industries that generate jobs and income, spin off new products and services, and attract and retain unrelated businesses and skilled workers.

New London Landmarks Logo

This is the challenge New London Landmarks has accepted with a $100,000 grant from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and the Office of the Arts.

Already change is taking place! During the winter the City’s Public Works Department and volunteers have cleaned, trimmed, limbed up trees, cleared brush and opened up spaces in the park allowing clear views of the Thames River.

Winthrop School

The new Winthrop Magnet School is open and students are enjoying a truly beautiful modern classroom building filled with light and great new facilities.


Click below to view Master Plan for Hodges Square and Riverside Park. It was presented to City Council in Spring 2014.

Master Plan

Creative Placemaking from the National Endowment for the Arts

City of New London logo

The Goals

Revitalization by creative initiatives that animate places & spark economic development

Desired Outcomes:

LIVABILITY = public safety, community identity, environmental quality, improved transportation

DIVERSITY = collaboration between civic, non-profit and for-profit partners (U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Connecticut College and the neighborhood)


  • looks at small, modest scale investments
  • Animate the neighborhood and Hodges Square with changes reflecting this unique neighborhood
  • Re-use vacant space
  • Animate the neighborhood with cultural activity
Neighborhood Homes

Riverside Park

Creative placemaking enlarges the world for this historic neighborhood which is cut off by the twin bridges and Interstate 95 from the larger New London community. The project works with all the people who live and work in the neighborhood and through a variety of programs with New London artists, landscape designers, business professionals, and preservationists new ideas for community development will emerge.

Six great Saturday Art Jams in Riverside Park began the project in the summer of 2012. These Saturday events were designed with two goals: to introduce Riverside Park to families throughout New London and to meet the neighbors who live near the park.

Riverside Park is a beautiful site for picnics and other activities that was explored during these art days. Fun and arts-based activities included painting murals, performing in short plays, using movement to explore the nature of the park with parades, dance, and sculpture. There was a bit of serious math, nature study and appreciation of this unique park as well.

The one-year program had several goals and through a variety of programs developed by local artists, neighbors were given a strong voice in the changes they wanted to see take place throughout this small community that has been so cut off from the New London center.

Riverside Park before and after space was opened up

Creative Placemaking:

Reports on Riverside Park: