Community Placemaking

Placemaking is a worldwide movement putting the public space as a mirror to the social life of the people who inhabit or use it.

As both an overarching idea and a hands-on approach for improving a neighborhood, city, or region, Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. Strengthening the connection between people and the places they share, placemaking refers to a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared values. More than just promoting better urban design, placemaking facilitates creative patterns of use, paying attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.

With community-based participation at its center, an effective Placemaking process capitalizes on a local community's assets, inspiration, and potential, and results in the creation of quality public spaces that contribute to people's health, happiness, and wellbeing.

Community Placemaking pursues the idea of redesigning public spaces with the help of local communities. The aim is to jointly create places where residents of a district can meet, reunite, exchange ideas and relax. Through the process of joint design, strong communities are created.  Their heart is the public space, the Community Place. The joint design process of public spaces connects people not only with places, but also with other people. The concept was developed in the 1960s in the US. The idea of Community Placemaking originated in architecture. Here, the built environment was to be designed in such a way that it was pleasant and attractive to people. The concept and idea of the collective design of public spaces was taken up by the social sciences in order to transform public spaces into living places and to actively involve citizens in the design of social life in these spaces. The starting point of the joint design process in Community Placemaking are the socio-cultural identities of the residents. These identities form the basis for a creative design. In order to create such places, the ideas and resources of interested residents are bundled. Community Placemaking is therefore a process of joint design, but also a philosophy. By redesigning living spaces, people are brought together, and lifestyles and habits can change. Especially in areas with a heterogeneous population, community placemaking processes can bring together people from different social and cultural backgrounds. Here, people with and without a migration history can create a place together. Community Placemaking therefore not only changes geographical places, but also creates ideal space for the expression of personal experiences that can be shared with others.

 

Rationale of the methodologies using arts-based community:

The basis of every community process is the community. The starting point are the resources and wishes of the community and its needs. These have to be discovered in a joint exchange process. Therefore, different methods of exchange and dialogue are suitable to get into a conversation with each other and to find out who can do what and who wants what. The purpose is to create a meaningful conversation with a large part of the community using tools for creating an intervention in public space that engages the community and is based on its story and/or needs. One such participatory democratic methods could be the World-Café. This is a method of exchange for larger groups of about 12 participants or more, in which the participants can get to know and exchange their different sight irons on a topic in a safe room.

 

Organizational requirements, equipment and materials:

In order for the community to get into such a form of mutual exchange as is possible with the World Cafe method, for example, the following things are needed:

A place to meet with number of tables and chairs to host the invited community.

A flipchart to write the questions on.

3 questions regarding the local knowledge and experience.

The aim is to bring the community into conversation, to plan a common approach and to establish long-term cooperation structures.

 

Approaches to securing the access and the collaboration of communities:

The process of Community Placemaking is based on a participatory democratic approach and tools that regard the community and neighborhood as living systems. The Project for Public Spaces proposes the following principles to successfully implement community placemaking projects: 

  1. The Community is the Expert!

  2. Create a Place, Not a Design!

  3. Look for Partners!

  4. You Can See a Lot Just by Observing!

  5. Have a Vision!

  6. Start with the Petunias: Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper!

  7. Triangulate!

  8. They always say "It Can't Be Done"!

  9. Form Supports Function!

  10. Money Is Not the Issue!

You Are Never Finished!                                             (Project für Public Spaces, 2000)

 

Implementation process:

The starting point of a community process is to form a core group within a community that has sufficient interest and time to participate regularly in the redesign of a public space. The group can be constantly expanded. Once such a leading core group has been established within the community, further activities, experts and interested parties can be integrated into the community. The community can use tools to structure their resources and interests and for a meaningful conversation. The aim is to create and express local history in public space - in a gallery, on boards or in other creative ways.

Pedagogically this approach is based on the tools of participatory leadership such as world café that will be presented ahead

 

A Community placemaking process:

 

 

 

Community Placemaking – Student's small scale examples (Demo project 2019, spinoffs ):

 

CPM (Community Placemaking) at Givat Washington

In the Demo project, we met partners who aimed to act for inclusive social activities on campuses and outside and have Demo methodologies widely disseminated.

Here is an example of a course offered at Givat Washington College that as the first step for inclusion on campus collected (at a worldcafe) the local story and shared it on public space. 

 

 

 

more examples of students interventions for inclusion on campus –

Sakhnin College -  students interventions for inclusion on campus (2019) –

The excellent students' program initiated the local story project and after hosting a worldcafe, created this intervention at the entrance to the college -

 

 

 

Under the purpose of creating inclusive spaces for immigrants at their place of residence, Community Placemaking results can look very different. The participatory process enables an inclusive involvement between veterans and new residents in neighborhoods, like immigrants, resulting in a cooperative intervention to their needs and feelings and choices.

The webpage "Community Placemaking.com" gives an overview of possible results of Community Placemaking in Israel and other countries. The results are as diverse as the people who have participated in the Placemaking processes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More examples can be shown here: https://www.communityplacemaking.com/project-06

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Literature:

Fleming, R. L. (2007). The Art of Placemaking: Interpreting Community Through Public Art and Urban Design. London: Merrell.

Palermo, P. C., & Ponzini, D. (2018). Place-Making and Urban Development. New York: Routledge.

Project für Public Spaces PPS (2000). How to Turn a Place Around: A Placemaking Handbook (2nd Ed.). New York: Project for Public Spaces.

Schneekloth, L. H., & Shibley, R. G. (1995). Placemaking: The Art and Practice of Building Communities. New York: Wiley.

 

 

Useful Links:

 

Name of the Workshop: Community placemaking

Facilitator of the Workshop: Tom Ben Hamou 

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Photo: This is an intervention made by students for creating hospitable and pleasant place at the entrance to the college, a method that can and is used to create more inclusive spaces in neighborhoods characterized by high numbers of immigrants as residents.

Disclaimer: "This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein."

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