A collective reflection on Placemaking through workshops and international exchanges

The Placemaking for Citizen-led Missions in SE Europe (PLACE) project, funded by the European Commission’s CERV program, brought together three organizations operating in southeastern Europe and the largest international network organization on placemaking to generate a broad reflection around the concept of placemaking through transnational exchange experiences and workshops supporting local communities. The project promoted a series of webinars, moderated by Placemaking Europe, that showed experiences of collaboration between associations, citizens, and public administrations to improve the quality of public space and transform abandoned or underutilized areas.

In the local context PUSH organized 3 in-person events, between Palermo, Mazzarino and Petralia Sottana.


The PLACE project successfully brought together several associations working in this area, fostering a meaningful exchange to explore existing practices, their limitations and potential development within the city. During the knowledge exchange, representatives from seven different entities in Palermo presented their innovative projects illustrating placemaking in action. EPYC, Laboratorio Zen Insieme, Orto Capovolto, Traiettorie Urbane, Sperone 167, Palermo Festival, and Tu Sei la Città. The event was also attended by the City of Palermo’s Urban Regeneration Councilor.


In Mazzarino, as part of the opening of the Countless Cities Biennial, PUSH and FARM Cultural Park collaborated to organize a Placemaking Café in the town’s main square. Local people were invited to participate in an urban game to assess the current situation and imagine an ideal transformation of public space. At the same time, the municipality held an architectural competition to renovate the square, and the Placemaking Café served as a platform to convey the needs and wishes of the community to the winning team. By establishing a partnership with a local café, we created a space in the square where people could gather around a table to assess the current state of the square in terms of street furniture, activities, social engagement, and functionality. Informal discussions brought to light important topics and unveiled ingrained habits and customs. A subsequent exercise focused on imagining the future of the square, allowing participants to express their needs in terms of play areas, protected sidewalks and revitalization of commercial activities.


In Petralia Sottana, PUSH organized a placemaking event during the Urban Thinkers Campus “Communities’ Sustainable eXperiences” as part of the Madonie Living Lab. The activities focused on the process of co-creating activities and spaces within the Madonie Living Lab. The activity represents the first step in a longer process of co-creation activities that will potentially generate new collaborative processes by fostering a sense of belonging in the area. From the insights gathered, placemaking has emerged as a tool for improving levels of social cohesion and nurturing a sense of belonging within communities. Although the physical transformation of spaces is a positive outcome of this virtuous process, it is rarely the ultimate goal; rather, placemaking serves as a means to a broader and more encompassing goal.

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