Airlines serve many destinations, but Southwest Airlines is working to make sure the destinations it serves are better places for their passengers to visit.
Working with Project for Public Spaces(PPS), the airline has already helped improve a number of venues, since its Placemaking Heart of the Community initiative began in April of this year.
Southwest and PPS gave children at Burnside Park in Providence, RI an Imagination Center to play in; lent new flavor to Campus Martius Park in Detroit, MI by turning into a seasonal Beach Bar and Grille; and revived Travis Park in San Antonio with a number of entertainment options for local residents and visitors–including games, public programming, live music, free movies and tournaments. Southwest has also recently announced plans to transform the Plaza at Pratt and Light in Baltimore by “making into a vibrant gathering place for the community.”
Speaking to Flight Chic, Marilee McInnis, SWA’s spokesperson for the Placemaking Program, said:
“The exciting thing about this program is that every project is very different. Through the placemaking process, we listen to the needs and wants of the local community and work with local partners and PPS to determine the amenities and ongoing programming that will support those needs.”
Southwest has long coordinated special events and participated in public programs to give something back to passengers and to communities. The airline has supported Ronald McDonald House Charities through its Annual LUV Classic Golf Tournament to help raise funds for that organisation for many years. Southwest also has a number of other notable charitable programs it helps fund.
Airlines around the world contribute to a number of charities and organizations which align with their corporate values, but Southwest’s Placemaking program is a new and unique approach. It not only improves spaces for the locals but it also gives these destination cities more attractive venues to offer visitors.
“I’ve had the opportunity to watch the Placemaking process unfold in our project markets,” said McInnis, “and it’s incredible to see the transformation of these spaces, created by and for the community, and to see people enjoying the spaces in new ways.”
“My favorite aspect is that we can help breathe new life into spaces that local communities are able to enjoy and generate a spark that can be sustained by local partners and the local community,” McInnis added.
Asked what her favorite project was so far, McInnis gave Flight Chic a very fitting answer:
“While each project is incredibly special and unique, our project in Travis Park, located in San Antonio, Texas, was particularly meaningful for our Employees given that our co-founders, Herb Kelleher and Rollin King, first sketched the idea of Southwest Airlines on a cocktail napkin at the St. Anthony hotel, which is directly across from Travis Park.”
Southwest is committed to giving its passengers better destinations, and more Placemaking projects are on its flight plans.
Featured Image: Southwest Airlines 737-800 with Split Scimitar Winglets, via Southwest