2023 and beyond will provide further challenges and disruption in my view in “Placemaking”, as the metaverse is making it harder to separate the virtual from everyday life. Nonetheless, in its initial phases, new and untested brands have a unique opportunity to innovate in a new era of media, advertising, retail, design, and placemaking.
How can brands “place make” between unclear boundaries where physical and digital meet? “Phygital Commerce” – This phenomenon has in fact been silently developing in the digital landscape, I must admit, this is an ideology that I had not yet picked up on until recently.
Both H&M and Vogue Business are early examples of well-known brands bringing the metaverse into their reality to create filmic retail experiences that are reaching across the digital universe.
Vogue Business is capitalizing on placemaking in the Metaverse. Through their collaboration with Yahoo, they arranged their Metaverse Experience to create a digitally unique, island-situated virtual peak incorporating visually stimulating landscapes and user’s imagined avatars. Correspondingly, H&M created a virtual showroom exhibiting their collections as photorealistic, 3D-rendered cloth simulations. The brand’s virtual space offers visitors the chance to experience promotions and collections in this new and intuitive way. Brands in 2023 and beyond will need to explore the industries’ new terrain through the metaverse to innovate and meet the demands of the physical and digital consumers of the future.
Physical placemaking is here to stay
With more than half of the world’s population living in cities, the importance of engaging and inclusive physical public spaces grows stronger and stronger. In juxtaposition to the metaverse, brick-and-mortar placemaking is a participatory process for shaping both public and private space that utilizes the ideas and assets of the people who use them. There are many approaches within our space. However, we could agree on some basic principles such as; establishing a theme, providing safe access and accommodation for efficient movement, creating opportunity features and clear signage whilst defining spaces incorporating different amenities into a streetscape or space that will encourage people to dwell and increase their enjoyment of the place! Physical placemaking like digital placemaking is here to stay.
In physical placemaking, an attractive, active, well-functioning public or privately owned space can stimulate economic development in a community, from a small rural town to a city. The cutting edge of urban design and placemaking is no longer primarily where we design spaces with the public’s desires in mind, it is where we incorporate green thinking and technology. Sustainable placemaking is a thesis on its own, however, cities and private spaces within the city must adapt to future climate conditions, enhancing biodiversity and creating optimal settings for an active urban green life to the benefit of current and future generations.
As our built environment expands, we are challenged to find spaces for new green areas, incorporating nature into the fabric of the city. Placemaking will be required to meet the ambition of more trees along the streets, more green courtyards, and urban nature on rooftops, facades, public, and private lands to transform our current understanding of placemaking.
Read more about expert opinions in our Online Special: “Industry Outlook 2023”.