The term “placemaking” has been around since the 1970s in the Anglo-Saxon-speaking world, and it refers not only to physical space, but also to the social and cultural identities that surround or give rise to this space. With its origins in urban development debates, Placemaking describes, among other things, temporary interventions in public spaces in order to increase the quality of life and stay in these places through participation, to show new possibilities of use and thus to make them more sustainable and inclusive.
Placemaking invites people to collectively rethink and reinvent places and thus also intensify people’s identification and connection with these places. Placemaking always accesses in particular the resources, knowledge and ideas on the ground. It is about creating places that are not only functional, but also beautiful and meaningful to the people who live, work and play there.
As a result, this placemaking process is usually interdisciplinary, as it necessarily combines very different perspectives, hopes, and interests. At its core, it is about creating a place that continues to attract, hold, excite, and inspire people. The place should satisfy the needs of the residents as well as increase the attractiveness for visitors and be open to all social classes.
The goal of Placemaking is not to simply make a place “more beautiful.” Rather, it is about using temporary or longer-term interventions to create authentic narratives and highlight new options that are so tangible and experiential that they trigger change in the people who use the place – first in their thinking and then in their actions. This positive change not only relates to the place itself, but can trigger positive overall development of the surrounding neighborhood.
Public spaces are designed to keep traffic and people moving. Loitering is frowned upon, so you have to buy a coffee when you want to sit down, for example. Being constantly on the move, rushing from one appointment to the next, leaves little room for encounters and conversations – Placemaking counteracts this.