Placematters strives “to support the creation and maintenance of sustainable and vibrant communities and regions through the application of innovative decision making tools and methods.”
Borne out of the goals and impacts of several Tools for Community Design and Decision Making (TCDDM) workshops, PlaceMatters provides a range of services to communities and organizations, including consulting, technical expertise, and provision of specific tools and planning processes. Main themes in PlaceMatters’ work include building capacity, increasing public involvement and creating sustainable communities.
PlaceMatters uses many high-tech and pioneering technologies in all of its projects, as well as in the presentation of them. The organization uses and offers tools such as keypad polling, scenario planning, 3-D visualization, interactive online mapping, electronic town meetings, and community websites as a way to improve specific projects, but also as a way to educate others about the tools and to increase participation in other convenings and events.
Current PlaceMatters projects as of 2010 include the Wichita Downtown Revitalization Master Plan, which makes use of PlaceMatters unique online tools and mobile technologies, and Bridging the Divide, a unique project to integrate databases of ecosystem-based and community planning tools and processes into a single resource.
Another offering of PlaceMatters is their website itself, which serves as a virtual gathering place for those interested in planning and tools; they can search for resources, communicate with one another, and stay abreast of the latest technological developments. This Planning Collaborative is also under development in partnership with PlaceMatters. Placematters has also partnered with the Orton Family Foundation to host the semi-annual conference CommunityMatters. PlaceMatters maintains a database of planning tools, and provides additional resources on its website.