- Project for Public Spaces has spent the last 6 years collaborating with UN Habitat on projects, publications, trainings and many global conferences to make public spaces, streets, public markets, and placemaking a fundamental part of the New Urban Agenda—all topics which had been underrepresented in the global development dialogue until introduced in the 2011 Resolution on Public Spaces and the launch of UN-Habitat’s global public space program. The final draft of the New Urban Agenda mentions “public spaces” ten times, including the thrust of each of the key messages from the Future of Places Urban Thinkers Campus.
- With PPS’s global Placemaking Week, and our involvement in Habitat 3, 2016 saw the Placemaking movement go global. As the conversation turns toward the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, placemaking is being seen as an indispensable tool to bring together the many causes and disciplines necessary to making our cities safer (especially for women and girls), more sustainable, more resilient, and more just.
- This was the focus of the Urban Thinkers Campus “Making Cities Together: The City We Need, through Safe, Inclusive, and Accessible Public Spaces”—which was held May 3-4 at the United Nations Office in Nairobi, Kenya.
The conference’s key partners included the International New Town Institute, UN-Habitat and PlaceMakers, and it was organized in collaboration with KUWA Urban Spaces by People, and Architects Without Borders (Sweden). Together with moderators and speakers from all over the world, we considered practical steps forward for implementing the New Urban Agenda through placemaking and public spaces.
- With a focus on placemaking, the Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC) model is an initiative of UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign, conceived in 2014 as an open space for critical exchange, promoting sustainable urbanization across the globe. In order to implement the New Urban Agenda after Habitat III in Quito in 2016, the UTC 2.0 was action-oriented by focusing on developing action plans and implementable roadmaps for sustainable urban futures.
- In the “Making Cities Together” Urban Thinkers Campus, the development of public space took center stage. High quality public spaces are excellent starting points for improving the standards of urban life for all citizens. They are instigators and symbols of important aspects of a city, such as safety, health, and the local economy.
- Keynote speakers for “Making Cities Together” included PK Das (Architect, Activist, and 2016 Jane Jacobs Medal recipient); Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana (Chief Executive Officer at Cape Town Partnership); Ethan Kent (Senior Vice President at Project for Public Spaces); Michelle Provoost (Director of the International New Town Institute (INTI) in Almere, the Netherlands); Tatu Gatere, Kounkuey Design Initiative, Kenya; and Cecilia Andersson, Director, Public Space Programme at UN Habitat.
- This Urban Thinkers Campus offered participants the opportunity to actively engage in “Living Labs” and networking sessions. During the Living Labs groups, we developed action-oriented frameworks regarding the implementation of the New Urban Agenda’s themes on public spaces and participation. Discussions focused specifically on placemaking, up-scaling & replicating, finance, maintenance and governance in public spaces in communities around the globe. We also addressed ways in which individuals and organizations can contribute to these public space interventions, and how to effectively use placemaking as tool for regenerating and planning in cities worldwide.
- The Twitter feed from the conference: