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.
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