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Southwest Airlines Community

Visioning Workshops: Elevating Placemaking Opportunities in San Antonio and San Diego Communities


The following blog post was written by Elena Madison, Vice President of Project for Public Spaces


Since 2013, the Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community Program, in partnership with Project for Public Spaces (PPS), has awarded grants and placemaking technical assistance to organizations across the United States and Mexico. These organizations use this support to help transform their public spaces into thriving community gathering places.


This year, in our collective effort to help communities and cities shape their future through public space, we are proud to continue our support of placemaking work in San Diego, California and San Antonio, Texas through grants of technical assistance from PPS. These grants are valued at $50,000 and are in the form of Placemaking Visioning Workshops.


The workshops will help recipients collaborate with their partners—stakeholders, government departments and agencies, elected officials, business and property owners, residents, and others—to elevate current placemaking efforts to the district or city level and through a more holistic approach. Content of the workshops will focus on the importance of building and fostering a broader network of destinations. As a result, a vision plan with recommended actions will be produced to assist the grant recipients with next steps.


Elevating placemaking efforts will result in a more connected, stronger, and resilient city overall. Congratulations to our Placemaking Visioning Workshop recipients!

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San Antonio Center City Development, Travis Park (San Antonio, TX)

In San Antonio, the workshop will seek to develop a strategic approach to better connecting, both physically and programmatically, Travis Park with Houston Street, The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, The San Antonio River Walk, and The Alamo. As Travis Park nears a five-year anniversary since its Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community grant supported revitalization, it is time to connect the park and other key destinations to the greater downtown experience. By working on a placemaking visioning strategy, City of San Antonio’s Center City Development and Operations Department hopes to further develop partnerships, leverage city funds with private fundraising, and continue catalyzing development in the area.


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Balboa Park Conservancy, Balboa Park (San Diego, CA)

Building upon the momentum of a Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community grant in 2014 and recent placemaking activities at Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama, now is the perfect time for San Diego’s Balboa Park to evolve a united vision of placemaking goals and effective partnerships for its 1,200 acres. This effort aims to lay the foundation of a park-wide framework for collaboration and program planning for the vast network of park partners. By creating a greater sense of the park’s impact and importance, Balboa Park Conservancy hopes to build community buy-in and locate new resources to improve the park.