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Abstract

This chapter focuses on the use of digital technologies in urban regeneration processes at the scale of the neighbourhood. Between 1950 and 1980, hundreds of neighbourhoods were built all over Europe, and the planning principles underlying them were also used in urban regeneration projects of rundown historical areas. With few exceptions, the planned urban neighbourhoods started to face social and economic problems a few decades after their construction. They became the scene of reconstruction and revitalization processes that usually take the scale of the original neighbourhood as their starting point. Contemporary regeneration approaches proposed for those areas are not limited to the physical and functional improvements; they put much attention to the existing communities, their needs, and aspirations. Cooperation between professionals and residents has become of paramount importance. The increased complexity of the neighbourhood-improvement programmes demands an interdisciplinary approach that addresses urgent issues, such as the ageing population, (un)healthy living environments, climate-change adaptation, etc. Where different professions get engaged with the residents, speaking a common language is crucial from the initial phase of setting the grounds. One of the major obstacles planners in neighbourhood regeneration processes encounter is how to connect citizen knowledge to their professional expertise. Interactions and visualizations based on information and communications technology (ICT) can help to create a common language, offering a realistic impression of the desired results of interventions and their impact on safety, health and well-being. This chapter offers insights into the case studies from Groningen, Ljubljana and Lyon.

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

Perceptions of personal security significantly affect human behaviour in geographical environments. The way public places are perceived determines their utilization and their attractiveness among urban residents. Various methods have been applied to study perceptions of security and the environmental factors associated with it. Urban environments comprise a variety of places, including those with urban greenery. The main objective of this chapter is to explore and compare different participatory research methods focused on analysing the factors that influence perceptions of security in urban parks, and to explore their potential for placemaking processes. This overview is illustrated with three examples from the Czech Republic, Poland and the United Kingdom. The first case study explores perceptions of topophobia in places with greenery and parks in the town of Šternberk (Czech Republic). It employs cognitive mapping by a selection of local residents, and results are visualized on (by the help of) semantic maps. The second case study explores the extent to which park infrastructure and maintenance levels affect perceived security in urban parks in Warsaw (Poland). The third case study uses data recorded from the crowdsourcing Place Pulse project to analyse the spatial association between perceived security and the tree canopy (including trees in urban parks but also in the streets) in London (United Kingdom). The relation between greenery and perceived safety may be context-dependent and vary across areas. All three participatory research methods use residents’ knowledge based on primary data gathering and digitization and as such offer practical tools for placemaking.

Open Access
In: Placemaking in Practice Volume 1