Creative place-making – the path to active European citizenship (Erasmus +// KA210-YOU – Small-scale partnerships in youth)

Lead organization:
KA MATRIX – Association for social development

Partner organizations:

The Association of Cultural Heritage Education (Finland)
Urban Gorillas (Cyprus)

Project Duration: 01/11/2021 -31/07/2023
Project value: 60.000,00 euro


1. To strengthen the capacities of partner organizations through the development of knowledge and experience of people working with young people (youth workers) in the field of conversion of public spaces through the methodology of Place-making.

2. To raise awareness of the need for civic participation in the conversion and use of public spaces for youth activities taking into account the cultural heritage of these areas (tangible and intangible).


With this project we will provide knowledge and experience from the methodology of designing public spaces based on real needs of the young people themselves. Often, public spaces for young people are designed in a way that does not involve active civic engagement which is why these spaces are often inadequate for those who use them the most (parks, spaces for young people, etc. – outdoor and interior). 

The path to active European citizenship

That is why it is necessary to include them from the beginning in the construction of a space in the local community. That is the only way that they have a sense of belonging to that space.

When young people and the people who work with them directly give their voice and idea and express their need in public area and towards those who make these decisions, they become active members of society, they participate in the development of their communities and they create their place (sense of belonging).


*source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placemaking

A plaza in Hallstatt Austria with an activated public realm.Placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Placemaking capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that improve urban vitality and promote people’s health, happiness, and well-being. It is political due to the nature of place identity. Placemaking is both a process and a philosophy that makes use of urban design principles. It can be either official and government led, or community driven grassroots tactical urbanism, such as extending sidewalks with chalk, paint, and planters, or open streets events such as Bogotá, Colombia’s Ciclovía.

Good placemaking makes use of underutilized space to enhance the urban experience at the pedestrian scale to build habits of locals.



The concepts behind placemaking originated in the 1960s, when writers like Jane Jacobs and William H. Whyte offered groundbreaking ideas about designing cities that catered to people, not just to cars and shopping centers. Their work focused on the importance of lively neighbourhoods and inviting public spaces. Jacobs advocated citizen ownership of streets through the now-famous idea of “eyes on the street.” Whyte emphasized essential elements for creating social life in public spaces.


The term came into use in the 1970s by landscape architects, architects and urban planners to describe the process of creating squares, plazas, parks, streets and waterfronts that will attract people because they are pleasurable or interesting. Landscape often plays an important role in the design process. The term encourages disciplines involved in designing the built environment to work together in pursuit of qualities that they each alone are unable to achieve.

Recent years

In recent years, placemaking has been widely applied in the field of Sports Management and the sports industry. Often times, the idea of placemaking centers around urban real estate development, centralized around a stadium or sports district.


The Community Knows Best

An important aspect of placemaking is taking into account inputs of the people who will be using the public space most. That is, to say, the community for which the public space is intended. This is important because members of the community are likely to have useful insights into how the space does – or should – function, as well as a historical perspective of the area, and an understanding of what does and does not matter to other members of the community.

Places, Not Designs

Placemaking is not just about designing a park or plaza with efficient pedestrian circulation. It involves taking into account the interrelations between surrounding retailers, vendors, amenities provided, and activities taking place in the space, then fine-tuning the space with landscape changes, additions of seating, etc., to make all of those elements mesh. The end result should be a cohesive unit that creates greater value for the community than just the sum of its parts.

Placemaking is a Group Effort

Partners for political, financial, and intellectual backing are crucial to getting a public space improvement project off the ground. These partners can range from individuals, to private or municipal institutions, to museums, to schools.

Make and Act on Observations

By observing how a public space is used, it is possible to gain an understanding of what the community does and does not like about it. This understanding can be used to assess what activities and amenities may be missing from the space. Even after a public space has been built, observation is key to properly managing it, and evolving it to better suit the community’s needs over time.

Requires a Vision

As with many other types of project, a placemaking project needs a vision to succeed. This vision should not be the grand design of a single person, but the aggregate conception of the entire community.

Requires Patience

A placemaking project does not happen overnight. Do not be discouraged if things do not go exactly as planned at first, or if progress seems slow.


Triangulation is represented between a mural, cafe, and street vendor in Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo, located in La Candelaria, Bogotá, Colombia.
Triangulation, simply put, is the strategic placement of amenities, such that they encourage social interaction, and are used more frequently. For example, “if a children’s reading room in a new library is located so that it is next to a children’s playground in a park and a food kiosk is added, more activity will occur than if these facilities were located separately.”[3]

Ignore Naysayers

Just because it hasn’t been done doesn’t mean it can’t be done. What it does mean is that there are few people, in either the private or public sectors, who have the job of creating places.

Form Supports Function

A public space’s form factor should be formulated with its intended function(s) in mind.

Money Should Not Be an Issue

If networking and team building have been executed correctly, public sentiment towards the project should be positive enough to overlook its monetary cost.

Placemaking is an Ongoing Process

Placemaking is never “done”. Minor tweaks can be made to improve the space’s usefulness to its community over time, and regular maintenance/upkeep of facilities and amenities is a fact of life.

Community attachment

Great places must do more than meet the basic requirements if they want to foster greater community attachment. A strong sense of attachment can result in residents who are more committed to the growth and success of their community. The Knight Foundation conducted a study measuring community attachment, and found that there was very little variation in the primary drivers of attachment rates when compared between different cities across the United States.

Drivers of Attachment


  • Social Offerings – Gathering places that foster face-to-face interactions, building trust with others, and an environment where people care for one another. This includes perceptions of a healthy nightlife, an arts and cultural scene, and community events.
  • Openness – How inclusive the community is to a wide range of people and lifestyles. Openness is measured by perception that the place is good for old people, racial and ethnic minorities, families and children, gays and lesbians, college grads looking for work, immigrants, and young adults without children.
  • Aesthetics – The physical beauty of the place. Mostly focusing on the availability of open green space, parks, playgrounds, and recreational trails.


kamatrix logo


Association for social development

Jurja Haulika 22.
47 000 Karlovac

email: info@ka-matrix.hr
web: www. ka-matrix.hr
FB: https://www.facebook.com/UDRUGAKAMATRIX


urban gorillas logo


Association of Cultural Heritage Education in Finland

Hallituskatu 2 B,
Business ID: 2148270–7
00170 Helsinki

email: info@kulttuuriperintokasvatus.fi
web: kulttuuriperintokasvatus.fi
FB: www.facebook.com/kupekasvatus

urban gorillas logo


78 Vasileos pavlou
1021 Nicosia

email: urbangorillas.ngo@gmail.com
FB: https://www.facebook.com/Urban.Gorillas.ngo



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