Placemaking is a part of an ever-evolving conversation. We often say that it is more than one discipline, beyond the scope of any one specialist. Generally, it is a transformative approach that inspires people to create and improve their public places and strengthens the connection between people and the places they share. This has been applied for years in public spaces large and small from parkletts to civic plazas, campus squares to Library lawns. But sometimes, this involves one of the most abundant – and perhaps important – public spaces we have: our streets.

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A functioning street – and place – in Istanbul | Photo by PPS

The conversation around improving our streets has up until this point mostly remained a subject for transportation planners or alternative transportation advocates, both of which focus on streets’ role as transportation corridors. When a street is set up only to be a conduit from point A to point B, where is the room for “place”? Streets as Places is not only possible, but something we think we should strive towards in our everyday work and experience of the built environment around us.

This is not only the topic of our upcoming conference Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place, but also an emerging conversation in cities around the world as we begin to question the transportation status quo and apply the Placemaking paradigm shift like never before. We’ll also be discussing next steps in the Placemaking campaign at the Placemaking Leadership Council immediately preceding the council. Here is just a slice of what is going on in the minds (and at the conference) of bicycling and walking professionals when thinking about Placemaking in transportation. You can also still register for the conference here and and see the full program here.

Pro Pop-Up, Pro Pilot | 90 Minute Panel

The presenters will provide a brief overview of pop-up and pilot initiatives and how they can change policy and physical environments. The session will include advice about how to implement these types of short-term interventions to support walking and bicycling, followed by a hands-on workshop in which participants design their own pop-up/pilot projects.

Sam Rockwell, Active Living Project Manager, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Eric Weiss, Health Improvement Project Manager, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

Rethinking and Activating Public Space in Seattle and Boston | 90 Minute Panel

Seattle and Boston are two U.S. cities that have embraced new roles the public sector can play in managing and activating public space, including streets. Seattle’s Public Space Management Program and Boston’s Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics support innovative public space projects by partnering with city departments, community members, and designers to pilot, test, learn, and scale placemaking initiatives. Presenters will share highlights of their programs and the successes and failures of catalyst projects.

Jennifer Wieland, Public Space Program Manager, Seattle Department of Transportation
Kris Carter, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, City of Boston
Nate Cormier, Principal Landscape Architect, SvR Design Company

How Placemaking Can Transform Transit Facilities into Vibrant Destinations | 60 Minute Panel

A transit station or stop can serve much more than a transportation function; it can be a focal setting for community interaction and a place that fosters a diversity of activities. Learn about opportunities for Placemaking at transit stops that creates a win-win-win for ridership, economic development, and local communities.

Cynthia Nikitin, Senior Vice President, Project for Public Spaces
Jennifer Flynn, Senior Research Associate, Ctr for Urban Transportation Research, USF
David Nelson, Project Associate, Project for Public Spaces

Shared Places: Case Studies from Pittsburgh |
60 Minute Panel

Three projects in the city of Pittsburgh- Rivers Casino, Market Square and Bakery Square- exemplify the strategy of shared spaces at very different scales and locations. These case studies will be described in detail in order to illustrate how the integration of pedestrians, bikes and cars can foster successful urban places.

Michael Stern, Principal, Strada
Scott Bricker, Executive Director, Bike Pittsburgh
Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

Creating Places in University City | 60 Minute Panel

In 2011, University City District unveiled The Porch at 30th Street Station, a large plaza project that has inspired other public space projects throughout Philadelphia. This session will focus on lessons learned and the data collection efforts that have informed changes and improvements in these projects.

Prema Gupta, Director of Planning & Economic Development, University City District
Charles Carmalt, Pedestrian Bicycle Coordinator, City of Philadelphia

Rethinking the Suburban Bus Stop: Placemaking in a Suburban Retail Area | 60 Minute Panel

This session will take the audience from design through execution of how a multi-modal bus stop became a ”place” in a busy retail center where people can eat lunch, hang out in a faux IKEA living room, and fix a bike flat.

Lynn Manion, Executive Director, Airport Corridor Transportation Association
Paula Maynes, Managing Member, Maynes Associates Architects, LLC
Terri Noble, Store Manager, IKEA Pittsburgh

Market Square Walking Tour | Mobile Workshop

Fred Kent will give background information on how Market Square was transformed from an intersection with excess pavement into one of the most vibrant and most successful public spaces in the city and a model for realizing that markets and squares are a critical asset for cities across the world.

Fred Kent, President, Project for Public Spaces

Bus Stop Activation Mobile Workshop: Hit Record to Make an Impact | Mobile Workshop

Participate in a pilot bus stop makeover project in Pittsburgh and learn how you can bring a new approach to transit stops back to your own neighborhood. The workshop will cover, time lapse basics, how to site and install equipment, data collection methodologies, and analysis techniques.

David Nelson, Project Associate, Project for Public Spaces
David Leyzerovsky, Transportation Fellow, Project for Public Spaces

Placemaking in Pittsburgh: South Side Slopes Walking Tour | Mobile Workshop

In conjunction with South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association, the one hour workshop will take participants on a tour of the neighborhood’s historic churches, where participants will see panoramic views of the city and get a distinct feel for one Pittsburgh’s most remarkable neighborhoods.

Brad Palmisiano, Mechanical Engineer, Astorino
Brian Oswald, President, SSSNA