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Experiences and Approaches from a Pan-European Perspective
Placemaking has become a key concept in many disciplines. Due to an increase in digitization, mobilities, migration and rapid changes to the urban environments, it is important to learn how planning and social experts practice it in different contexts. Placemaking in Practice provides an inventory of practices, reflecting on different issues related to placemaking from a pan European perspective. It brings different cases, perspectives, and results analysed under the same purpose, to advance knowledge on placemaking, the actors engaged and results for people. It is backed by an intensive review of recent literature on placemaking, engagement, methods and activism results - towards developing a new placemaking agenda. Placemaking in Practice combines theory, methodology, methods (including digital ones) and their application in a pan-European context and imbedded into a relevant historical context.

Contributors are: Branislav Antonić, Tatisiana Astrouskaya,Lucija Ažman Momirski, Anna Louise Bradley, Lucia Brisudová, Monica Bocci, David Buil-Gil, Nevena Dakovic, Alexandra Delgado Jiménez, Despoina Dimelli, Aleksandra Djukic, Nika Đuho, Agisilaos Economou, Ayse Erek, Mastoureh Fathi, Juan A. García-Esparza, Gilles Gesquiere, Nina Goršič, Preben Hansen, Carola Hein, Conor Horan, Erna Husukić, Kinga Kimic, Roland Krebs, Jelena Maric, Edmond Manahasa, Laura Martinez-Izquierdo, Marluci Menezes, Tim Mavric, Bahanaur Nasya, Mircea Negru, Matej Nikšič, Jelena Maric, Paulina Polko, Clara Julia Reich, Francesco Rotondo, Ljiljana Rogac Mijatovi, Tatiana Ruchinskaya, Carlos Smaniotto Costa, Miloslav Šerý, Reka Solymosi, Dina Stober, Juli Székely, Nagayamma Tavares Aragão, Piero Tiano, Cor Wagenaar, and Emina Zejnilović
In: Placemaking in Practice Volume 1
In: Placemaking in Practice Volume 1

Abstract

Many European cities are in crisis since most of them are struggling to socially and culturally move forward from the historic and recreational values that made them of interest to the global visitor. In 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) started assessing new forms of placemaking in the historic city through the UNESCO Historic Urban Landscape Approach. The same year, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) highlighted the importance of developing innovative and transversal approaches to examine cultural development in historic human settlements. Within this context, this chapter analyses placemaking in four European historic cities. Transversal approaches on how relational dynamics impact on the historic context will be scrutinized from the realm of the site-specific arts in the city of Belgrade (Serbia), for archaeology the case of analysis is in Bucharest (Romania), for architecture the context is Ávila (Spain) and for urban planning it is Hamburg (Germany). This transversal approach involves using different disciplines to comprehend placemaking from a polyhedral point of view. Therefore, it brings together complementary forms of heritage appropriation – including the construction of the heritage concept over time – methods and strategies that help integrate cultural expressions, practices and products as potential relational dynamics. To do so, we will define stakeholders such as minorities, communities and powerful entities and target groups. Methodologically, approaches will deepen the understanding of phenomenological, dynamic-relational and contextual notions of placemaking that help clarify how historic cities, tools and communities are all interconnected. The discussion will establish parallelisms between the experiences to clarify the implications of placemaking according to the field of approach and the prospects for those places. Cultural expressions and heritage regulation can provide new forms of appropriation and integration in permanent scenarios of the past. Accordingly, contemporary mutable relationships between places and society are at stake in the context of urban planning and the UNESCO Historic Urban Landscape Approach and in defining the future of historic cities. In conclusion, we point towards (1) imagining how placemaking and cultural heritage serve to delineate new forms of heritage-making in the historic city, and (2) to what extent this requires defining ethical forms of culture-based placemaking practices.

Open Access
In: Placemaking in Practice Volume 1

Abstract

The primary aim of this chapter is to comparatively analyse digital representations of trauma in Central Europe. While trauma has traditionally been understood as a radical form of insecurity describing the emotional impact of a horrendous event, recently it has been defined – instead of naturally existing – as something constructed by society. Using this notion of cultural trauma and “post-memory” as a point of departure, we are interested in how various places of trauma become reconstructed in the digital space. Within this process human agency plays a key role and, as such, we will also reveal what kind of “carrier groups” take the lead during “meaning making” and who becomes the audience of these new “framings”. Thus, our chapter has a double focus: besides elaborating on the dialectics between actual and digital placemaking activities related to certain traumas, we will also lay out the specific sociocultural processes that produce, challenge and adopt these new master narratives. After an introduction that will relate the theory of cultural trauma to the concept of post-memory, as well as to the digital turn in memory studies, our interdisciplinary team of an art historian, a media scholar and a sociologist will discuss three case studies from Koper-Capodistria (Slovenia), Belgrade (Serbia) and Budapest (Hungary). While all the cases reflect the historical event of World War II and its consequences, they represent three different modes of digit(al)ized trauma “making”. The case of Koper-Capodistria studies the formation of various Facebook groups that mirror the post-World War II event of the “Istrian exodus”, when the Italian population got largely displaced by newcomers from Slovenia and Yugoslavia. The two sides met again only in 2016 when the history of the city got in the spotlight on a social media site, which started to function as a vessel for divergent historic narratives and collective memories between Italians and Slovenes. In contrast to the digital dialogue the social media site generated and presented about the actual urban experiences of two distinct groups in Slovenia, the Serbian and Hungarian cases aimed more at an interaction between the urban and digital sites through various tools. While the case study from Serbia encompasses four projects of digital mapping of the Holocaust (“Semlin Judenlager in Serbian Public Memory”, “Staro Sajmište: The Living Death Camp Project”, “Visit to Staro Sajmište” and “Mapping the Holocaust”), the one from Hungary discusses the USC Shoah Foundation’s mobile app, IWalk, which connects concrete physical locations with testimonies of Holocaust survivors and witnesses. The social media site (set up in 2016), the multimedia maps (created between 2008 and 2013) and the educational app (first launched in 2013) will all be understood as digitexts where histories, digital memories and trauma narratives meet: as digital cultural traumas. We believe that through the “reading” together of these cases from Central Europe, we will not only contribute to the understanding of the potential of digital placemaking and its role in processes of remembering that are often hindered by taboos, but we will also be ourselves able to “make” place for a deeper social solidarity and well-being.

Open Access
In: Placemaking in Practice Volume 1

Abstract

Placemaking is a collaborative process to design urban spaces through creatively sharing interests, needs, activities and ideas. The literature on urban planning, design, human-computer interaction (HCI), geography, sociology and anthropology is rich in examples of methods that can be used in placemaking. However, the rationality that defines the methodological approach is essential to acquire a common view for places, ensuring an inclusive and open process. Before or in parallel to defining why, how and what to do in placemaking, it is relevant to consider different methodological approaches. In this chapter, we explore three methodological principles: (1) providing a multidimensional view on the context together with interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary knowledge, and with early engagement with people and stakeholders; (2) responding to the common view, needs and priorities regarding the transformation, regeneration and urban management of spaces; (3) experimenting with the inclusion capacity of the methodological approach, improving methodological efficiency and effectiveness, adhering to the social actors and stakeholders, detecting difficulties and correcting and improving the placemaking process from an inclusive perspective. An overview of the subject of placemaking will subsequently be performed and afterwards two methodological approaches presented. Finally, considering that the issue of placemaking is a dynamic and collaborative process, this chapter explores how the role of the methodological approach impacts inclusiveness.

Open Access
In: Placemaking in Practice Volume 1

Abstract

Public parks are important elements of the green infrastructure. They provide places for people to experience nature and engage in physical activities, which are key in increasing public health and well-being. There are new factors limiting the usability of parks, provoking changes in the usage patterns. The Covid-19 pandemic and the introduction of restrictions on the use of the city significantly reduced many forms of physical activities, and a stay-at-home obligation is negatively associated with an increase of sedentary lifestyles. At the same time, the demand for greenery has intensified, highlighting the increasing role and benefits provided by green spaces in times of emergency, such as the pandemic. To better understand the contemporary values of parks, this chapter discusses the usage of public parks before (2019) and during the Covid-19 pandemic (2020–2021). The research includes the analysis in three urban parks located in different European countries: Pole Mokotowskie Park in Warsaw (Poland), Quinta das Conchas in Lisbon (Portugal) and Parco della Pace in Senigallia (Italy). These parks have different sizes and equipment, but are all very popular recreational places for the residents. The main activities performed by users in both the pre-pandemic and pandemic period were identified based on the field observation methods, which included a list of performed activities. The research conducted during the site visits was completed with information from media and government communications, including the context of country-specific restrictions. Changes in users’ activities were analysed for each park, and then compared to identify similarities and differences. Particular attention was paid to activities that were abandoned, limited or eliminated from the park programme, as well as those that became more popular. The results show that the role of public parks in providing recreation and improving health and well-being are still appreciated and valued, while at the same time their use and preferred equipment have been adapted to sanitary restrictions.

Open Access
In: Placemaking in Practice Volume 1

Abstract

Among placemaking practitioners and scholars, the question of how we improve engagement in placemaking practices is the subject of much debate. We look at different placemaking cases in order to understand how the early inclusion of multiple stakeholder groups in the process of placemaking design and planning can improve citizen engagement and impact. In so doing we present a process-based “tool” to improve participatory engagement across multiple contexts. The early inclusion of multiple stakeholders is important as it can yield deeper insights into the needs of a community. In turn, this can help ensure the outcomes of placemaking projects are more impactful which can lead to more sustainable outcomes for local communities. To contribute to this, we look at different placemaking cases to understand how the inclusion of multiple stakeholders leads to sustainable outcomes. We compare stakeholder engagement across four placemaking initiatives. In the examples of PlaceCity in Oslo and Vienna, placemaking tools were utilized for urban regeneration or improvement. The case of Stará tržnica (Old Market Hall) in Bratislava was a renovation and revitalization of a vacant heritage market. The example of Club Rhijnhuizen in the Netherlands showed how placemaking was used in a strategic way to revitalize a vacant neighbourhood. By comparing and contrasting these cases, we illustrate how an engaged scholarship approach can improve common participatory placemaking practices. An engaged scholarship approach focuses on early inclusion of multiple stakeholders as partners (Van de Ven, 2007). Engaged scholarship accepts that conflict is inherent in the process and should be embraced and managed rather than “solved”. We highlight the implications of this for the design and project management of placemaking initiatives. We conclude this chapter by showing how a process-based view of placemaking practices contributes to sustainable outcomes for city councils, placemaking organizations and local communities.

Open Access
In: Placemaking in Practice Volume 1
In: Placemaking in Practice Volume 1

Abstract

Mega-events are considered as one of the anchors of the consumption-based development that plays a significant role in the contemporary production of urbanity. They are complex and transformative undertakings that inevitably create an impact of great magnitude, mass popular appeal and international significance. This chapter explores mega-event phenomena in different national and geopolitical contexts through which cities are increasingly formed and compares emerging practices on making and selling of post-event places of host cities whose legacy is still unfolding. It aims to bring together different perspectives of the placemaking process using comparative study analysis of four distinct cities: Sarajevo in the context of the 1984 Winter Olympics; Athens in the context of the Summer Olympics of 1896 and 2004; Istanbul in the context of Formula 1 along with cultural events such as biennales and art fairs; and Dubrovnik in the context of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. What kind of places did events produce? How did event-led urban conditions merge under the radar of official planning guidelines in Sarajevo, Athens, Istanbul and Dubrovnik? What determines the capacity of cities to capitalize under the cover of an event? Both Sarajevo and Athens have undergone distinctive historical pathways in the post-Olympic period which help to understand how far these cities’ strategies have addressed the need to leverage legacies and to turn towards the new urban economies. The Dubrovnik and Istanbul cases embrace the cultural events for urban image production, highlighting the long-term significance of events for public spaces for subsequent events where unprescribed interaction could lead to innovation and creativity. On the one hand, the chapter contends that the mega-events are powerful mechanisms that re‐prioritize urban agendas, foster urban redevelopment and are instruments for reinventing cities and promoting economic growth. On the other hand, the research on the mega-event-based urban imaginaries reveals contradictions and tensions between two distinct urban realities, the actual reality of the city in the post-event era followed by uncertainty and anticipation, and the constructed (mediated) reality built on the utopian vision that is in most cases far from being a reflection of urban, social and cultural identities.

Open Access
In: Placemaking in Practice Volume 1