This fall, Placemaking Europe, under the PlaceCity Project supported by JPI Urban Europe, opened the call for Winter and Pandemic Proof placemaking examples. We realised the deep need from our community to implement strategies and projects that fostered human connection while staying physically distant during the ongoing pandemic measures. The need for such human connection is also two-fold in consideration of the chilly months ahead. We, as a network, are faced with the challenge to optimally use our public space and bolster communities' senses of belonging during seasonally uncomfortable weather, and also without the ability to congregate in groups or in close proximities to each other. We are pleased to share with the wider network these submissions below. They vary by region and are diverse in content and application; these placemaking tools, examples, and methods range from all over Europe - some are entirely digital, while others are physical, and some are a hybrid.
We encourage the Placemaking Europe network to tap into these excellent examples for motivation and try them out safely in your home city context this winter to inspire more lively, emotionally connected, and robust communities. Please follow the links to learn more information about these innovative creators!
A cultural interactive placemaking map, called Community Story, is a freshly developed digital tool by placemaking throughout Europe - we can connect digitally this season while being physically distant. First implemented in Israel, it empowers community participation and builds connections and cooperations in a local or international human focused ecosystem to showcase place on a stage. Further, the process is participatory empowering."On this map, you will find ideas and projects shared by people in different parts of Europe. The aim is to bring together people who use or want to use the practices of placemaking connected to culture. This map is an invitation to inspire, connect, and co-create." The theme plotted include: Art in public space, Locality (festival/heritage), Place-based cultural celebration, and Call for Cooperation.
Created by a team based in Switzerland and Italy, Recipes for Wellbeing supports changemakers to achieve robust wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional, digital, etc.) in order to propel projects forward more successfully. They offer 'recipes' for wellbeing capacity building. Here you can browse through COVID-19 Recipes, such as an Inspiration Jar, Gratitude Bingo, and Picture Exercises.
Th Gorozhanin Podcast , recorded in Stockholm and dispersed digitally by Anastasia Angeli, brings brings people together using urban stories. Even though we are physically distant, this resource helps counterbalance feelings of isolation to bring human connection to each listener. Recently, the podcast released the episode "A City For You" this December - you can check it out here.
Based from the UK, Careview uses a digital platform to map the city's needs efficiently in order to spend more focus on mental health - it is much more than just a digital tool. Interestingly, you can make an account and use the app to report observations when walking through your neighbourhood to find links between the built environment and isolation/loneliness. The platform's development was instigated in 2015 by the Urban Sustainable Development Lab with support from Leeds Council, NHS England and the European Space Agency.
This new tool idea comes to us from Aachen, Germany by Alexandra Kessler working at CSCP : " In the dark winter times illuminating something in public can change the place instantly. In this case scrap metals will be used to build a sculpture. In a next step, neighbours will be provided with LED 'throwies' to place or throw on the sculpture. This example brings people together, even though the do not meet, to illuminate the sculpture jointly but to do it one after the other to respect the COVID-19 distancing rules."
This fun and active exercise encourages users to move in public space through their own creativity and participation. Currently in development by Elisabeth Meze for the municipality of Innsbruck, Fitness-parkour aims to get people out their houses to be physically active (using COVID-19 distance measures) for more well-rounded health, interact with their neighbourhood, and feedback into the city's planing process to improve rundown areas with green and blue infrastructure. She proposes to fun animations to both motivate fitness ideas, while also informing the community of upcoming implementations for change and how to get involved.
"This project, Separate but Collective: Participatory Visualization of Happy Places in the House aims to create a mosaic or collection of 'happy places' through contributing any form of visual representation of “where is your happy place in your house?” House is emphasised to encourage staying at home in a pandemic winter." This placemaking tool connects a community safely to produce both a collage collection of happy places pictures and also geotagged locations for where these happy places are located.
Applied in London, Dublin, Aleppo, and Stockholm, Time Ramp, directed by Christopher Guest, inclusively "stimulates creative thinking about our neighbourhoods. It uses the shared, universal, experience of Lock-down as a bridge across boundaries." - Christopher Guest. Both online and offline in groups of 2 -4 people, this tool critically questions how and who shapes our environment, and further guides you in a creative collaboration in envisioning your own surroundings.
This placemaking project, C3Places, is based in Lisbon, Portugal and focuses on engaging the community with participatory methods. Now during the pandemic, they must adapt to maintain safety while importantly bringing in genuine co-creation to the project. They bring together ICT and teenagers for this project - using technology to inclusively shape public space - and recognise adolescence as a critical period in human development to socialise, interact, learn, and connect with others. "During the pandemic, public spaces must contribute for the resilience of cities. A requirement remains for people to go for walks, to be in contact with nature or to exercise - all beneficial in the strengthening of physical and mental health." See more about the project here.
By Pocketcoach, the Winter Lockdown Mental Health Guide serves as a digital tool during this lockdown in how to monitor and manage personal stress, anxiety, and mental health. Specifically, they propose the Supportive Six: lighting, exercise, routines, relaxation, connection, and less news. See these six elements that support more robust wellbeing below.
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