The role of knowledge institutions in placemaking

Urban development is increasing in its complexity. Hybrid forms of urban development are emerging, with a gradually bigger role given to citizens’ initiatives and self-organization. This favours the involvement of knowledge institutions that add to new models of innovation by actively contributing to and partnering with public and private initiatives.

In this paper, we analyse the experience of the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS), Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands. Within the Master of Science for Urban Management and Development, participants and academic staff of the specialization for Urban Strategies and Planning (USP) engaged actively in conceptualizing placemaking activities in the city.

The result was the development of diverse concepts and methods to facilitate placemaking processes, assess and evaluate demands and potentials, and reflect on the multifaceted implications of each of the possible contributions. Moreover, it provided valid lessons learnt for
the opportunities and limits of placemaking as a tool for developing cities and societies that we herewith intend to feed back into the academic discourse.

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