03.08 / Lecture

From lifeless public spaces to dynamic hubs

The founders of the Project for Public Spaces and The Placemaking Fund, Fred Kent and Kathy Madden, will talk about how to create lively urban spaces through placemaking, the prospects of this approach in the Russian context, and how the urban community drives changes

Successful and genuine public spaces are used by many different people for many different purposes, at many different times of the day and year. For example, is a place welcoming and safe for pedestrians who are on a walking tour? Are there any green areas? What street life scenarios are the most typical ones for a certain space? And how can the views of all community stakeholders be taken into account to develop a project in close collaboration? The founders of the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) and The Placemaking Fund, Fred Kent and Kathy Madden, will tell how cities can be transformed through placemaking.

Placemaking is a process of urban landscape transformation when the redevelopment is not merely architecture or design, but rather a plan of complex changes. The main idea of placemaking is to reinvent public spaces by introducing a whole new life to them and making them comfortable and functional according to the urban community’s demand. Placemaking is based on the principle that the community is an expert. Its main approach is to strengthen the connection between people and the places they share through dialogue and collaboration between professionals and city dwellers.

During the lecture, Kent and Madden will share their experience and explain how it could be applied in the Russian context. Over last 40 years they have worked in 3,000 communities in 47 countries across the world.

Their most prominent projects include New York’s Times Square and Rockefeller Center, the revitalization of Chinatown in Los Angeles, the redevelopment of the lifeless Detroit city center, Mexico Parque, and Perth cultural center in Australia. All of these promote the idea of public spaces as being key to livable cities and collective work as a main instrument of building the urban environment. On the international scale, members of PPS have developed a national strategy of public space transformation in the Czech Republic and participated in the strategic planning of a port in Montenegro and for Hong Kong’s waterfronts. They have done the same kind of planning for Saudi Arabian cities and Singapore’s districts, and organized conferences in Vancouver, Amsterdam, and London. Their ‘Forum of Future Places’ has even become part of UN-Habitat’s New Urban Agenda program.

The speakers will show how the strategy based on the principle of ‘faster, cheaper, easier’ is actually easy to implement and available for everyone involved in urban life. The lecture will be interesting not only for architects and city planners, but also or developers, representatives of city administrations,city dwellers, curators of museums, and property owners – whether they own huge shopping centers or small street standsIt will also be interesting for anyone who is ready and willing to create friendly spaces.

On the 4th August Fred Kent and Kathy Madden hold a workshop on the placemaking 'How to Create a Public Space'. Participation in the workshop will help to build a holistic view of the urban environment creation, to see the potential of places and their perspective as centers of urban life. Applications are accepted until July 25.

The lecture will be held with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

english with simultaneous translation into Russian
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