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Hillwood Communities’ Approach to Placemaking & Building Community

January 15, 2023



“Placemaking” is a term that gained traction in the mid-1990s in the urban planning realm. It describes a concept centered around designing inviting, useful communities. Hillwood Communities adopted some of these groundbreaking placemaking methods to create new home communities that have enriched the lives of residents for more than 30 years. Below, we explore our unique approach to placemaking and creating community for homeowners.

What is “Placemaking”?

Early pioneers of “placemaking”, Jane Jacobs and William H. Whyte, had the groundbreaking idea that a city should be designed for its people not just office buildings and shopping centers. Organizations like Project for Public Spaces developed a “multi-faceted approach to the planning, design, and management of public spaces.”  This development concept makes neighborhoods and living spaces accessible, engaging, and stimulating for all of their residents, with a people and community-first mindset. With placemaking, homebuyers can feel secure in knowing that their neighborhood is building a culture where neighbors can connect and share a sense of community.

Our Unique Placemaking Strategy

Each Lifestyle by HillwoodSM community is envisioned with the goal to create places where families of all sizes and lifestyles feel welcomed, engaged, stimulated, and secure. 

Our placemaking strategy is informed by our five guiding principles:

Sense of Community: Create a culture of belonging

Our award-winning lifestyle programs offer engaging opportunities for residents to get to know each other, creating a joyful, supportive culture where families experience life together. 

  • Lifestyle programs offer activities for all interests and age groups specifically designed to bring residents together and foster relationships.
  • Communities are designed to be walkable, with short blocks and neighborhood park connections, that encourage spontaneous interactions.
  • In collaboration with local school districts, we endeavor to provide an on-site elementary school within the community, so children can walk to school and attend with their neighbors.

Well-being: Nurture healthy living

Our communities are centered around health-minded activities and the wholeness of the natural world.

  • Every community offers amenities that allow residents to stay fit including swimming pools, playgrounds, parks, exercise classes, fitness centers, and walking/biking paths.  
  • Many communities offer sports courts, sports fields, and other dedicated areas that encourage people to be active outdoors.
  • Having an elementary school within the neighborhood encourages children to walk and/or bike to school.
  • All communities are designed to promote an appreciation for our natural world.

Enrichment: Empower lifelong learning

Our lifestyle programming offers opportunities to learn new skills, gain knowledge, and enjoy unique experiences. 

  • Community lifestyle programs offer innovative, ever-changing experiences for residents of all ages and shared interests, such as classes, guest speakers, performances, affinity resident groups, fitness opportunities, and more.
  • Some of our communities are built around a concept that supports an enriching lifestyle, such as farm-to-table living or outdoor fitness.

Stewardship: Contribute to a more sustainable society and planet

We have a responsibility to honor the history of the land and its people, to be a good steward of resources, and to give back to the community. 

  • Each community is designed, after careful collaboration with local stakeholders, to honor the history of the land and its culture and we craft the community details in harmony with the story the land shares.
  • Every home in our new home communities is built to conserve resources and be energy efficient.
  • Our common areas and homes are landscaped using plants that have low water requirements and are drought tolerant and are irrigated with reclaimed ground water.
  • Each lifestyle community partners with a local organization or charitable cause to support their needs and strengthen community ties.
  • Hillwood Communities supports Building Homes for Heroes to provide mortgage-free homes and ongoing support services to severely wounded veterans.

Innovation: A spirit of curiosity that advances quality of life

Through creative thinking and continuous improvement, we focus on making life better today and for generations to come.

  • We seek to offer residents technology features they want in their homes, including integrated in-home ethernet wiring, community smartphone applications, lockers for online shopping parcel delivery/pickup, and more.
  • We brought the concept of a co-working space as a resident-amenity for the work-from-anywhere generation.
  • We are one of the first developers to include an ADA-accessible playground at one of our communities.

Hillwood’s placemaking model is not static – we see placemaking as a responsive, continuous evolution. Innovation not for innovation’s sake, but for real-life experiences that are meaningful and ever better.

Live in a Lifestyle by Hillwood Community

As Texas ever grows and expands, so do the needs of its residents. Thanks to thoughtful placemaking, these citizens can find exactly what they are looking for within a community, specifically, with Hillwood Communities.

Why not find your next home in a Lifestyle by Hillwood community? Browse our new home communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin areas or contact us today for more information.