This article is a report on the work of our group, the Centre for the Future of Places at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, and its role as an outgrowth of the Future of Places initiative – a partnership of UN-Habitat, the Ax:son Johnson Foundation, and the Project for Public Spaces. The original Future of Places initiative was a series of high-level conferences that brought together over 1,500 researchers, professionals, government leaders and activists from 275 organizations in 100 countries. The Future of Places also served as the first Urban Thinkers Campus, contributing to Habitat III and the language of its outcome document, the New Urban Agenda (United Nations, 2017). A primary focus of our series was the central role of public space as the connective framework for healthy urbanization – a point we made clear in the introduction to our “Key Messages” document: The Future of Places affirms the role of public spaces as the essential connective network on which healthy cities and human settlements grow and prosper. Public spaces enable synergistic interaction and exchange, creativity and delight, and the transfer of knowledge and skills. Public spaces can help residents to improve their prosperity, health, happiness and wellbeing, and to enrich their social relations and cultural life... (Future of Places, 2019).
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