Fred Kent and Kathy Madden are the founders and primary authors of the Social Life Project. Our mission is to highlight what makes public spaces thrive, drawing from communities around the world. Our work grows out of more than 40 years devoted to studying public space. The essential role of all successful public spaces is to provide social gathering spots that enrich local life by connecting people and empowering them to create stronger communities. Through this online publication as well as presentations, exhibits, and catalytic projects we can create a transformative impact on communities everywhere.

The Social Life Project is one of two inaugural programs of our new non-profit the Placemaking Fund. Our second program is PlacemakingX, a global network of leaders who together will accelerate placemaking as a way to create inclusive, healthy, and beloved communities.

If you are interested in collaborating (articles, presentations, exhibits, projects, and more) or supporting please contact Fred Kent and Kathy Madden at:

Support our Work

Help us accelerate and amplify the cause of public space and placemaking for global impact.


Kathy Madden

Co-Founder of Project for Public Spaces. She directed over 300 research and urban design projects and training programs throughout the U.S and abroad. Kathy has authored the publication How to Turn a Place Around, which has now been translated into over 10 languages. She taught at the Pratt School of Architecture Graduate Program in Urban Design.

Fred Kent

Pioneer of Placemaking for 50 years. Mentored by William H. Whyte and Jane Jacobs. Founder of Project for Public Spaces. Founder of Earth Day New York. Co-founder Transportation Alternatives. Founder of the Placemaking movement.


Katherine Peinhardt

Editor and Writer

Tayana Panova

Other Contributors

Steve Davies

Mark Hinshaw

George Semler

David Engwicht

More info

Social Life Project Resource Guide
This is a collection of Social Life Project’s articles grouped in our main focus areas - a resource guide for those interested in diving into our work.
Our Global Catastrophes will be Solved by Local Communities
The problems we face are global in scale. Yet the most effective solutions can be found on the local level. The frontlines for social change today are in neighborhoods, villages, towns and cities.
Leading Urban Change with People Powered Public Spaces
‍The History, and New Directions, of the Placemaking Movement.