What is Space2Place?

By: Thom MacLean | Project Manager, Community Development Department

What is Space2Place?

Space2Place is a placemaking grant program started by Big Sky Economic Development in 2018. We based it on a simple premise:  A space is a void. A place is a destination. How can we help our community transform empty spaces into vibrant places?

The term placemaking has been around since the 1970s and has grown into a bit of a buzzword. A Google search will return “about 5,630,000 results (in 0.43 seconds),” so it’s safe to say we could really get in the weeds trying to define it, but the word basically describes itself. It is the making of great places – places people want to live, work, play, learn, and visit.

How do you make a great place?

The Project for Public Spaces (PPS), an international leader in the field of placemaking, offers some fundamental elements of a great place:

  • Access and linkages – it’s easy to get there and it’s connected to the community
  • Comfort and image – it feels safe and inviting; it is clean and attractive
  • Uses and activities – there are things to do there, even if that is just sitting and watching
  • Sociability – people want to gather, visit, and interact

Another element that PPS doesn’t directly address is Aesthetics – making a space more beautiful.  Not all great places will exhibit all these qualities, but they should have a nice blend of a few.



Space2Place has helped fund 22 incredible projects throughout Yellowstone County


  • The underpass mural on 6th Street West
  • The bicycle pump track at Blue Creek Access site
  • String Lights over North Broadway
  • A welcome garden in Huntley
  • A sculpture under SkyPoint
  • Murals at the Pub Station alley and at pedestrian tunnels under Shiloh and North 27th
  • Seating areas at the Montana Rescue Mission and the Montana State Firefighters Memorial
  • Musical flowers in front of Wise Wonders.

Our Space2Place grant applications are open now to any individual, group, organization, or business willing to transform a space into a place in Yellowstone County. Your application must be submitted by March 4th through our online portal: Space2Place Information and Application

Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to selected projects.

We have intentionally kept the application process uncomplicated. Simply tell us who you are, what your idea is, how you’ll do it, and what it might cost. You may attach up to three pages of sketches, renderings, diagrams, photos, etc. to help illustrate your idea. So, noodle it, doodle it, and send it our way. We’re excited to see what you come up with.

Grant winners will be publicly announced on April 21st at our Better Off in Billings event. Awarded projects must be completed by September 30, 2021.