To begin any public space project, it is absolutely vital to understand the users, stakeholders, and unique environment. What are the desires and needs? What is the current situation? Who is the place working for and who is it not – and why or how?
Placemakers should begin with getting to know your community in order to continue with the project in an efficient, useful, and democratic manner. Think of trailblazers like William Holly Whyte’s paramount work in New York City in the 1970s – “The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces”. Other ways to study your context and community include : Birgitte Svarre & Jan Gehl’s book How to Study Public Life or hosting a Park(ing) Day kiosk/stand to chat and get to know the passersby in the community.
You can use the tools, created and developed by diverse authors and public space actors, below to help get to know your community!
Keep in mind that tools can overlap with themes and process steps. We are always expanding the Placemaking Europe Toolbox filled with open-source resources – please reach out if you know a great public space tool to include.