In 2023, Placemaking Week Europe returns, marking six years since the inaugural global Placemaking Week held in Amsterdam in 2017. Over this time, the placemaking movement has evolved into a robust and dynamic community, transcending boundaries and sectors to drive transformative change in Europe’s urban landscapes. This year’s event, hosted in Strasbourg and starting this evening, represents a critical juncture as we consolidate our gains, reflect on our achievements, and collectively define the future of placemaking in a rapidly changing world.
Community Growth and Impact
Since 2017, our community of placemakers has thrived, fostering collaboration among individuals and organisations dedicated to improving their local environments. Together, we have developed an array of tools and projects that have helped cities respond effectively to the challenges posed by the global pandemic. Public spaces and communities have been placed at the heart of urban development, revitalising our cities and promoting resilience.
The Viral Spread of Placemaking
The concept of placemaking has gone viral. Its principles and practices have resonated across Europe, capturing the imagination of urban planners, designers, and policymakers. More and more cities have recognized the value of placemaking as a powerful tool for addressing local and global challenges.
We have partnered with 13 leading European cities, forging alliances that underscore the importance of placemaking in addressing the complex issues of our time. This partnership provides a platform for shared learning, innovation, and the development of strategies that harness the full potential of placemaking.
Towards Systemic Change
Now, it is time to embark on a new phase of our journey. Together, as a community, we must collectively define what placemaking truly means, what it involves, and what it entails. We aim to make transformative change possible by addressing critical questions and challenges.
Key Questions and Challenges
- Triggering Change: How can placemaking be a catalyst for change? How can we create a sense of urgency and momentum for transformative placemaking?
- Equity in Placemaking: Is placemaking possible without equity? How do we ensure that our placemaking efforts are inclusive and benefit all members of the community?
- Community Expertise: Is the community truly the expert in placemaking? Do Placemakrs see them as such? How can we empower local communities to take the lead in shaping their own environments?
- Balancing People, Place, and Profits: Can we reconcile the interests of people, the integrity of the place, and economic considerations? How can placemaking contribute to sustainable prosperity?
- Small Solutions for Big Challenges: Can small-scale placemaking initiatives address larger societal and environmental issues? How can we scale up placemaking efforts for maximum impact?
- Creating dialogue: How do we align the interests of different stakeholders? What are the synergies between different parties that can help strengthen placemaking processes?
- The State of Placemaking: What is the current state of the placemaking practice in Europe? How have we evolved, and where do we go from here?
- The Essence of True Placemaking: What does ‘true’ placemaking entail?
Placemaking Week Europe 2023 represents a pivotal moment for our community. We have come a long way, but there is much work ahead. Together, we will explore these critical questions, share insights, and define the next steps in our journey toward fostering meaningful and transformative change. Our collective efforts will create a virtuous circle, where public spaces, people, and the planet thrive together, ensuring a brighter and more sustainable future for all.
Placemaking Week Europe 2023 (Strasbourg, September 26-29) is Europe’s biggest conference and festival celebrating the impact of placemaking on the urban fabric. The event brings together some 400+ placemakers from across Europe and the world at large who are working to create better cities together: https://placemaking-europe.eu/pwe/strasbourg-2023/