Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper (LQC)

What is Placemaking and LQC?

Placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Placemaking capitalizes on a local community's assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people's health, happiness, and well being.

Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper (LQC) is a DIY approach based on taking incremental steps, trying low cost experiments, and tapping into local talents (e.g. neighbors, entrepreneurs) to quickly translate a community's vision into reality and to build momentum for further improvements.

What are LQC Placemaking Projects?

LQC placemaking projects are small, inexpensive, and incremental community projects. They do not need to cost a lot of money to get off the ground. Nor do they need to take a lot of time to plan and complete. But, these smaller types of placemaking activities can often help to improve a neighborhood and make it a better place to live, work and play.

How Can LQC Placemaking Projects Help My Community?

  • Create community gathering places
  • Attract residents and visitors
  • Bring life to downtowns
  • Support walkable communities
  • Preserve open and green spaces
Where Did LQC Originate?

Project for Public Spaces (PPS) has been working to help people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities since 1975, and have completed projects in over 2,500 communities in 40 countries and all 50 US states. Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper is a concept that PPS developed and advocates for continued local placemaking development and sustainability. Michigan Realtors® offers micro grants to assist local associations and their communities in strengthening their LQC placemaking initiatives.

Apply for a 2018 Grant

Michigan Realtors® is now offering LQC placemaking micro grants. 


Grant Information Quick Facts

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Andrea Bretz - Email
Operations Project Manager
Michigan Realtors®

Tell Us About Your Event

Do you have photos or video from a recent LQC Placemaking event you attended and or organized? Send all photos and video links to us. YouTube or Vimeo links are preferred.

Get Involved! Join the Conversation on Facebook!

MI Great Places is an online community dedicated to shaping the future of placemaking in Michigan. Join the Facebook group below to connect with LQC project coordinators and get the latest updates on placemaking events near you.

  Join MI Great Places on Facebook

In The News

Sense of Place
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GMAR Realtors® Award Placemaking Grant to Southfield 
Read Press Release

USA Today - New Mural Evokes Hometown Nostalgia in Howell
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MML - New Report Chronicles a Decade of League Placemaking Efforts
Read Article

Bridge - Placemaking Takes Hold in Michigan's "Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper"
Read Article

2018 LQC Placemaking Events

Check back soon for updates!

2017 LQC Placemaking Completed Projects

 Funded in part by MI Great Places, Inc.

 Battle Creek

The Battle Creek Association of Realtors® commissioned an artist to paint a mural at Sprout Urban Farms market. The market aims to help the community prosper through food, education and enterprise. The space revitalization beautifies and encourages visitors to share in a sense of community through food. This project was sponsored by MI Great Places, Inc.


Brighton Arts and Culture Commission continues to build on 2016 success. They created portable, multi-use to hold performances in storytelling, spoken word, music, visual and performance art. This also included further development of Hyne Alley and Brighton Sculpture Garden for “The Story of Us” storytelling exhibition. In addition to the stage and a piano, other space improvements were artist-painted chairs, tables and chairs, pallet gardens, a Connect 4 game, a large Jenga set and fresh flowers. The Brighton Arts and Culture Commission held various interactive, educational programming in this creative space. This project was co-sponsored by Griffith Realty and MI Great Places, Inc.


Three recycled plastic picnic tables were purchased, assembled and delivered to Dixboro Village Green, with the project driven by the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors. The Green hosts the Farmers Market and other community events May through October. This project was sponsored by MI Great Places, Inc.


Last year the East Central Association of Realtors added a butterfly house at For-Mar Nature Preserve. In 2017 they are working with a local artist to create a sculpture celebrating butterflies and marking the location of the butterfly house. A classroom on the north side of Flint, in close proximity to Max Brandon Park, gives ECAR the opportunity to expand Parks programming. They’ve worked with the City of Flint to develop nature signage and a wetlands area in the park. The classroom will be used for For-Mar programs, the Summer Playground Program during inclement weather, and will serve as a Mini-Station for the Park Rangers who patrol in that area. This project is sponsored by MI Great Places, Inc.


Howell Main Street Inc. utilized the “Lighter Quicker Cheaper” (LQC) approach to bring a mural to long-time underutilized and unattractive alley/parking area as the first step in the planned multi-phased alley improvements. A local artist was commissioned to produce a 150+ foot mural on a wall in the alley/parking space that captured Howell’s history and the overall essence of Howell. This project was co-sponsored by Griffith Realty and MI Great Places, Inc.


A task force with the Jackson Area Association of Realtors was created to identify the ideal spot for a pop-up revitalization. A vacant lot was identified and improved upon with fencing, a swing set and bike rack. The Pop-Up Park held a successful grand opening with family activities. At the end of the summer the equipment was donated to a local, non-profit youth group. This project was co-sponsored by Jackson Area Association of Realtors and MI Great Places, Inc.


A charrette was held in the Eastside neighborhood to engage neighbors and residents of the area as the Kalamazoo County Landbank looks to build small homes and increase revitalization and vibrancy in the area. The project was co-sponsored by the Greater Kalamazoo Association of Realtors and MI Great Places, Inc.


Lewiston installed removeable gabions (moveable tree boxes) with trees and plants at the open center of the street downtown that will be re-installed each spring. These gabions help to beautify the main street. This project is co-sponsored by Huston Real Estate, Inc., and MI Great Places, Inc. Huston’s gabion has a plaque in memory of  Mark Huston


The Saginaw Board of Realtors is committed to supporting the farmers market project in their community, which is a redevelopment of the former Saginaw News building into a 10,000 square-foot mixed-use facility. Leveraging labor from the local correctional facility, they were able to build benches for seating at the new SVRC Marketplace, which will open in 2018. The project was sponsored by MI Great Places, Inc. 

South Haven 

The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors hopes to improve Tot Lot, a park area that is underutilized in a residential area. The City has been making improvements to the park and Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors is looking at contributing $10,000 in additional improvements. The project included replacing a rough, sand and dirt filled area under a popular children’s imaginative play structure with 1500 square feet of rubber mulch. The project was sponsored by MI Great Places, Inc.

Wayne $2,500  Derby’s Alley is an underutilized alley in Wayne in need of revitalization. The funding will contribute to placemaking activities and seating and lighting improvements that will encourage the alley’s use. Family days will include yoga, karate and food trucks. The Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors has invested in this community gathering vision as well. The project is sponsored by MI Great Places, Inc.

Growing Hope is a new multi-use space at the Ypsilanti Farmers Market. They will create community gathering space beyond market day, including lighting, outdoor games, seating, patio heaters, picnic tables. There are many community partners involved in this redevelopment. There were many community events and site improvements held in the summer of 2017 that contributed to a sense of character and safety in the space. This project is co-sponsored by Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and MI Great Places, Inc.