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Placemaking in Practice. Lessons learned from activating public space on campus

Abstract

University campuses offer unique environments rich with opportunities to test, challenge and innovate. Yearning for possibilities of social interaction and the need for better, livelier public spaces on campus, students from the Master of Urbanism Studies program at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden have facilitated Placemaking Week on campus for two consecutive years. The tools of placemaking were put into action as students organized the inaugural Placemaking Week at KTH. The project was collaborative by nature in every aspect of the process, challenging the students to navigate the complex interplay between public and private actors. To achieve the partnerships necessary to initiate Placemaking Week, stakeholder’s strategic drivers and potential roles were defined early in the process. All influential stakeholders were engaged, as understanding their concerns and working with them created strategic partnerships which otherwise may have acted as obstacles. These partnerships were important to the program’s sustainability, co-producing a long-term strategy together with the stakeholders as the cohort of students change each year.
Through the approach and execution of each Placemaking Week, the potential of placemaking as a tool to foster community was assessed, formally studied and documented for learning purposes. The results of this study demonstrated that space could be made livelier and provide better opportunities for people to spontaneously interact, even with stringently limited time and resources. Further, Placemaking Week has provided content for the campus plan and contributed to building a trust-based relationship among stakeholders. With each year, the implementation process enables these relationships grow. Finally, the recurrence of Placemaking Week, which has been executed for the third year in a row, shows positive signs of embedding itself in the campus and student culture.

Published:
Pages:211 to 225
Section: Reports from 'Past Present and Future of Public Space'
How to Cite
Pannone, M., Riou, M. and Carvalho Diniz, E. (2019) “Placemaking in Practice. Lessons learned from activating public space on campus”, The Journal of Public Space, 4(4), pp. 211-225. doi: https://doi.org/10.32891/jps.v4i4.1243.

Author Biographies

A designer, educator and urbanist; Michelle is an Assistant Professor at Marywood University focusing on the communication of design ideas to diverse audiences in addition to the execution of full-scale build projects. Her expertise is in innovative methods of communication, including graphic representation, virtual reality, full scale mock ups, and workshops as a means to convey design ideas, opening the conversation to engage a broader audience in the design process. Michelle received her Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech and her Master of Science in Urbanism Studies from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. She has worked extensively in the international realm with colleagues and learning communities in Europe and Asia. Her expertise is in the formative factors, both social and physical structures, that inhabit the public realm. She is particularly interested in engagement in the design process as an integral step towards an empowered community. Michelle has facilitated collaborations with industry to support full-scale build workshops for students. She has conducted further research on these topics in regard to the impact of environmental psychology on interior and public space.
Her current research focuses on innovative participation methods to create a stronger connection between students and their local communities. These projects explore the complex relationship between design and technology as a mechanism to communicate with a diverse audience.

KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Sweden Sweden

I am a creative civil engineer and passionate urbanist trained in both France and Sweden. I now work in France as a project manager in collaborative city-making and environmental strategy at Wigwam consulting. At Wigwam, we believe that the climate emergency and the bleak future ahead require a change of strategy and pace. We help the actors of the city / rural areas to speed up the transition of both their places and organization towards being more human-centered and 'future-proof'.

KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Sweden Sweden

Brazilian architect and urban planner with a master’s degree in Urbanism Studies from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (Sweden), a BSc in Architecture and Urban Planning from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil), and an additional one-year academic exchange programme in the Technische Hochschule Ostwestfalen-Lippe, in Detmold (Germany).
My previous experiences include architectural and interior design, as well as academic research involving the repurposing of underused and idle buildings in the highly urbanised area of Belo Horizonte’s city centre. In Sweden I have been involved with academic experiences in placemaking at KTH’s main campus, both as a student and as a consultant. Other experiences include consultancy work on planning projects for human behaviour and movement in urban spaces, and urban visualisation of a new district area for the Linköping Municipality in Sweden.

References

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