Making Places Special Interest Group

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”   Jacobs, J. (1961). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Vintage.

The Making Places Special Interest Group aims to bring together researchers and practitioners who share a mutual interest in promoting the development of sustainable, livable and vibrant communities. 

Placemaking is a useful conceptual framework for Place Managers, as it gives them the opportunity to examine the social relations that form places. 

SIG Directors: Dr Steve Millington and Dr Ares Kalandides

Newly updated pages on place based festivals now available, click here


What is Placemaking?

Placemaking refers to the complex processes that constitute Place. These include: planning and other institutional arrangements; capital circulation and accumulation; participatory & disruptive processes; routines & the everyday; cultural practices; performances; boundaries; names & markers; language & narratives; mental images & representations etc.

Placemaking recognizes that places are not only the products of planning, but also the outcomes of complex social relations.  It is based on an understanding of place as a relational social construct, a contingent open-end process and the locus of the intersection of divergent trajectories. Places are thus constantly constituted both in consensual and conflicting ways by various actors and processes across different geographical scales.

Conversly, places also form social relations. The way we interact with each other, the way that economic and other forces shape our world are – among other things – the outcome of spatial relations that involve places. 

Placemaking is directly related to the discipline of Geography.


Who is a Placemaker?

"Space and Place are never just the physicality of plans and bricks and mortar (or even concrete). They are products of our social interactions and imaginations, and we construct them in a constant negotiation with each other."  Massey, D. (1995) "Making Spaces or, Geography Is Political too". Soundings, pp. 193-208.

All of us, admittedly from different power positions, make places every moment of our lives: be it with money or with art, through our daily routines or our imaginations. There is a distinction however between on the one hand conscious and deliberate practices in the constitution of places, and unconscious or non-reflective ones on the other. Thus, although urban planners and place managers, public artists and political activists etc. are all Placemakers – so are 'ordinary' people going about their everyday lives.  

Although the concept challenges the exclusivity of the planning professions over places, it by no means negates their importance. Placemaking as a social process is imbued with relations of power as well as contradictions in terms of geographical scales and time-frames. It remains the planner's political role to mediate between power geometries, local and broader interests, as well as short and long-term goals. 


What does the Making Places SIG do?

The Making Places SIG acts as a communication platform both inside the field of geography and cross-sectorally with other professionals in place management and development.

The Making Places SIG:

- collects and disseminates information on relevant news in related professions

- informs its members about upcoming events such as conferences, workshops, training etc.

- collects recent literature on placemaking (books, articles, reports, case studies etc.)

- offers professional training


Who can contribute to the Making Places SIG?

The Making Places Special Interest Group aims to create interdisciplinary connections to connect:

- geography and GIS

- planning and regeneration

- architectural and landscape design

- community development

- cultural studies

- technology

Together we can build an understanding of the planning, design and use of space and place and make places better!


Recommended Literature

Following this link you can find some reading recommendations by the Making Places SIG directors.