avatar for Ethan Kent

Ethan Kent

Project for Public Spaces
Senior Vice President

Ethan Kent works to support Placemaking organizations, projects and leadership around the world. During over 17 years at PPS, Ethan has traveled to more than 750 cities and 55 countries to advance the cause of Placemaking and public spaces. Ethan has been integral to the development of Placemaking as a transformative approach to economic development,environmentalismtransportation planninggovernance and design.

Having worked on over 200 PPS projects, Ethan has led a broad spectrum of Placemaking efforts, providing comprehensive public engagement, planning and visioning for many important public spaces.  Highlights have included: Times Square in New York; Kennedy Plaza in Providence, RI; Pompey Square, Nassau, Bahamas; Garden Place in Hamilton, New Zealand; Sub Centro Las Condes in Santiago, Chile; and The Porch, Philadelphia, PA. He has also worked with some of the most high profile developments in the world to help maximize public space outcomes in Hong KongLas VegasSan FranciscoDubaiAbu Dhabi,AucklandParramatta and Sao Paulo.

Utilizing lessons learned through his project work, Ethan regularly creates and conducts Placemaking training courses for professionals of various disciplines, from city planning staff in Vancouver, BC, to community development corporations in Detroit; from public housing developers in Sweden to traffic engineers in New Jersey.  He has also trained hundreds of professionals across Australia and New Zealand, through leading more than 25 training workshops.

In order to begin to institutionalize Placemaking in cities, Ethan has initiated and led localPlacemaking Partnerships and Campaigns with public, private and non-profit leaders to build capacity on all levels, shift organizational culture, implement demonstration projects and develop local campaigns for Placemaking. Ethan has applied this strategy in a wide range of cities including Chicago, Indianapolis, San Antonio, Baltimore, Seattle, San Francisco,OmahaFlint, MIBrunswick, MEBellingham, WA, Richmond, VA, Adelaide andMelbourne, Australia, Mississauga, Canada, in New Zealand and state-wide in Michigan.

This approach has had the most tangible effect in New York City where Ethan co-founded the NYC Streets Renaissance Campaign, as an effort to challenge auto-centric transportation policy and inspire a new public vision of streets as dynamic destinations. To launch the campaign, he directed an educational exhibit called Livable Streets: A New Vision for New York, then initiated and helped manage demonstration Placemaking processes with local stakeholders in some of NYC’s most important yet auto-dominated areas including Times Square9th Avenue in Hells Kitchenthe Meatpacking DistrictMyrtle AvenueColumbus Avenue, Petrosino Square, Union Square and Grand Army Plaza. The campaign and its demonstration projects led to a bold shift in NYC transportation policy including a Public Plaza Program, managed by former PPS staff, that is reclaiming street space for dynamic new public spaces throughout the city.