Building upon the momentum of last year’s successful event in Vancouver, Project for Public Spaces, in partnership with STIPO, City at Eye Level, Placemaking Plus and Pakhuis de Zwijger, are thrilled to announce Placemaking Week 2017, which will take place this Fall in Amsterdam on October 11-14, 2017.
The bulk of Placemaking Week 2017 will be held at Pakhuis de Zwijger—a creative venue and cultural organization representing the “bottom-up vanguard” (or who we like to call zealous nuts): people with guts and perseverance, contributing actively to societal issues in the city, inspiring people and communities and putting the collective interest first.
The timing of this conference in Europe could not be better, as so many cities are witnessing an unprecedented resurgence of interest in public space topics and issues—from accessibility and private development, to democracy and equity—and the themes of this conference will reflect these trends. Highlighting issues that are specific to the context of Amsterdam but broadly applicable to cities worldwide, this year’s themes will include: Placemaking and Innovation, Place-led Development and City Making; Equity and Wellbeing, and Streets as Places/Transportation, with many sub-themes in areas that Amsterdam also does very well, such as public markets and creative placemaking.
If for a moment we imagine what an “ideal city” might look like, Amsterdam would surely be at the top of many people’s lists. It is one of the most socially inclusive cities in Europe, and it has one of the largest historic centers in the world. Renowned for its focus on biking as a primary mode of transportation, pushing activist initiatives such as “Car-free Sundays” since the 1970s, Amsterdam has one of the most people-centric transportation systems in Europe. Since the 1980s, the city has made major investments into the quality of its public spaces, such as parks and public transit systems, and today the city is also a global leader in sustainability, not only because of its focus on walking and biking, but also because of its smart urban design and unique community initiatives. Nearly half of all traffic movement in the city at large happens on foot or by bike.
With a young and creative population and a mix of informality and formality that can be felt on the street level, Amsterdam continues to be a leader in innovation as cities look to and plan for the future. In fact, due to its healthy start-up climate and sharing economy that emerged from its bottom-up approach based on smart growth, livability and digital/social innovation, the City received the 2016 European Capital of Innovation Award.
Alongside Amsterdam's array of exemplary attributes, Placemaking Week will also be a great opportunity to bring both local and global placemakers together around new challenges that Amsterdam faces, such as housing shortages, spreading growth to outlying neighborhoods of the city, improving regional transit, fostering community participation, extending the city's Main Streets, and reinventing open air street markets. There are a wide range of innovative placemaking initiatives throughout the city with whom we will engage with during the conference. Given the international nature of this event, we will use these issues as jumping off points to discuss solutions that apply not only to Amsterdam, but to cities around the world.
How to join us
Stay tuned for a series of announcements over the next two months that will provide further details about Placemaking Week 2017, including a Call for Proposals, as well as details on registration and travel suggestions. In the meantime, we encourage you to sign up for the Placemaking Week newsletter to receive all news updates and important information.
We have much to learn from this widely-loved European city, and hope to see you in the Netherlands this Fall as the global placemaking movement continues to evolve!