Placemaking for innovation


La Marina de Valencia recently launched a Living Lab to experiment, design, and reimagine inclusive and innovative public spaces through placemaking. Placemaking Week Europe will focus on the waterfront as an upcoming innovation hub and further analyse questions around innovation for the public good, including the future of work and social innovation, by inviting thought provoking  leaders in the field. What does the future landscape of innovation look like? How can this contribute to improving our cities, public realm, and third spaces for all? How can placemaking contribute to this process, as well as to provide a better connection between the innovation hub and the city fabric?


A series of talks and an entertaining workshop for everybody – this session focuses on different stakeholder engagement as the fundamental element to co-create public and private spaces. Knowledge and experience from Malta, The Netherlands, and Greece are shared with the audience.


A variety of activities, including multidisciplinary panels, dynamic workshops, and book launch for all who wants to learn about how to create more inclusive, successful, diverse and gender-sensitive cities. Urban cases from around the world will be represented, including cases from the to be launched inclusive cities’ book – Our City?


In this stimulating discussion and investigation, experience new inspiration on the financial models for placemaking and the City at Eye Level. How can placemaking also be financially sustainable? Perspectives, best practices, and novel paradigms presented by Utrecht Citymakerfund, BIDs Belgium, Rotterdam Central Innovation District and more.


Social engagement cases and experiences from 5 different Eastern European cities will be presented to inspire solutions. The process of building social trust between a multitude of actors and groups is explained with reference to useful tools and actions from an entertaining panel session.


The innovative placemaking community, in cooperation with the Re:Kreator Association, aims to exemplify examples of redeveloped and revitalised underused spaces throughout Europe by sharing common knowledge. The session includes talks and an energetic workshop. Topics we will explore relate to the circular city, area transformation, using cultural hubs for economic sustainability in partnership with locals, and creating urban refuges from brown fields.

Creative Bureaucracy


The process of placemaking breaks disciplinary silos and transforms the way we govern our cities today. To boost the impact of placemaking we need to talk about systemic change! We need creative bureaucrats, people working in the public sector with the transformative ability to change the status quo and enable innovative processes. Placemaking Week Europe focuses on creative bureaucracy, governance innovation and city-wide campaigns for a more place-led development of our cities. We invite pioneering civil servants and politicians – and those aspiring to become creative bureaucrats – to share their experience and lessons. How can local governments follow up to the rhythm of placemakers and be a sustainable partner? What is the role of policy makers and civil servants in the placemaking processes?


Panels and workshops about how public institutions can play a fundamental role in the process of improving public spaces. In this session, we will investigate organisational inputs to placemaking related to governance. Further, how can we inspire and structure actors, placemakers, grassroots organisations, civil society, politicians, and  investors to work together successfully and sustainably.


This workshop on urban design governance, embedded in the framework of the Urban Maestro project, aims to contribute to a scoping exercise and explore how to guard the quality of the city while involving local stakeholders. Urban MAESTRO looks at the ways European cities are being designed and financed, focusing on innovative ways of generating and implementing urban spatial quality. Urban MAESTRO will focus on the “soft power” modalities of urban design governance and those approaches where public authorities act in a semi-formal or informal capacity as enablers or brokers, rather than through regulatory, or direct investment powers.


“Governance on every scale is not set up to create great places… government is still largely missing a coherent focus on enhancing its places (PPS).”  Organisation, financial and governance models for placemaking and place management from around the world. In this session, we will explore how to get from one time interventions to sustainable change while considering governmental inputs, opportunities, and challenges.


Learn about the balance between top-down government-led enterprises and bottom-up community-led efforts, as well as, city-wide strategies for the public realm and how to work on new types of partnerships to reinvent and activate public action.


Open-source sharing from placemaking practice


The inherent value of placemaking as a process is that in each context it is closely tied to the local community’s needs and specific circumstances. However, most placemakers find their footing in tools, mechanisms and strategies developed by their peers in other contexts. What are the common patterns of placemaking practices around the world? How can we tap into this world wide knowledge bank and still provide with context-relevant practices? Through open source sharing, we build capacity and increase the impact of the placemaking movement. For Placemaking Week Europe, we call upon placemakers to share their best practices, tools and innovative models for place management, place-led development and financing.


An exhibition, activities and talks showcasing numerous and diverse placemaking tools from around the world. The aim is to share a variety of approaches and practices open source, to invite everyone to take action to improve their city through placemaking. Expect interventions like art installations, participatory games, flexible seating, digital tools, to inspire co-creation, ideation and decision-making.


A selection of placemaking tools will be tested during the event. Practices like mapping of emotional perceptions of public spaces are going to take place in the streets of Valencia.


Interactive ‘walkshops’ around the city of Valencia to discover the potential of the city and learn how to experience and analyze in-depth the use of each urban corner from kids’ perspective, in silent mode, by getting lost, through a routine and by using your imagination.


Participatory discussions about the importance of sharing knowledge towards better public spaces. Examples of online journals and platforms such as innovative economic valuation methods are exhibited, with practical city game experience.


Placemaking can be integrated and interwoven into the real estate development process. This is what we call “Place-Led Development”. From placemaking as one time temporary interventions to placemaking as a structural fundament under urban development.


Future-proof cities through placemaking


In order to connect the impact of placemaking to the importance of improving our cities for future generations, Placemaking Week Europe concentrates on two important urban challenges in particular: climate change and inclusion. By sharing practices, lessons and critical discussions we demonstrate and explore how placemaking aims at shared benefits and public impact. Placemaking has a vital role to play in creating more inclusive cities for all, while lowering our carbon footprint and climate impact. How can placemaking contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable?


Placemaking Week Europe will mark the launch of The City at Eye Level for Kids, a book and methodological framework for child-friendly cities. There will be talks, panels and workshops to learn how to take the children’s perspective in urban design, and involve them in co-creation. Models for safer walkable streets and playful public spaces are discussed and explored.  City that works for the youngest, tends to be a place where everyone feels at home.


Placemaking Week Europe marks the launch of another new book “Our City?”, a collection of best practices and insights in inclusive city-making from Europe and beyond. How can cities and public spaces safeguard places where everyone feels at home, regardless of socio-economic status, ethnicity or gender. With placemakers from the Middle East we talk about placemaking for peacemaking.


Talks on resilience, digital innovation and safety in cities. How to co-create smart cities and ensure the data commons? What is the relationship between placemaking and safety? How does public space affect our mental health? Cases and different approaches from around Europe are discussed.


The combination of culture, placemakin and sustainability can be a powerful motor to vitalise cultural squares. Bryant Park in New York, the Schouwburgplein in Rotterdam and LaMarina in Valencia are examples for that.

In this session we present and discuss sustainable squares around the globe. Embracing the creative collaboration of public institutions, private companies and cultural organisations on the principles of sustainability, mobility, culture and inclusion.  Is the 7 square endeavour model a potential model for other places.


During this section of the programme, audience members will experience talks about the soul of a place, translated into local stories and experiences. Esteemed presenters will provoke questions regarding how to maintain the soul of place over time and how to honour these artifacts in sustainable, transparent, and innovative ways using participatory processes.


Waterfront cities


As many cities are today facing the transformation of waterfronts from their initial industrial uses into a place for and by the people, Placemaking Week Europe is an excellent occasion to exchange best practices and challenges of waterfront regeneration. How to boost underutilized spaces, and make them into places people love? How to boost economic activity and investment while preserving local identity and specificities? Cities with access to water have a lot of added value for citizens’ lives, it’s about time to tap into that potential!


Series of talks through an interactive panel to learn about successful waterfront interventions around the world. Diverse contexts will be tackled to understand what are the hidden opportunities of waterfront cities and how placemaking practitioners can collaboratively intervene in these areas with other stakeholders.


This session aims at finding solutions for dense waterfront areas through placemaking interventions while respecting the surrounding natural environment. This session is structured as a talk and workshop related directly to the Valencian harbour – La Marina.


How are cities adapting to climate change using placemaking? The session discusses examples like the Zero Waste concept, tactical urbanism towards recycling and upcycling, and environmentally friendly revitalisation of public spaces.