An article written by Jeniffer Heemann, co-founder and executive director of Bela Rua. Her vision of a great public space is a place where people feel good and safe, and where they want to stay a bit longer. But explains that she shouldn’t define how a great public place must be. Only the people who live and work in the vicinity of the space can define that. What is good for one city or neighbourhood might not be good for another. That may be the reason we see so many underused public spaces or dead zones in our cities: they were created without the community’s opinion and participation. In this context, placemaking is a solution. Placemaking is a process that transforms any public space into a place that meets the community needs and desires, inviting people to live the city, connect to each other, and be healthier and happier.
“In order to transform underused public spaces into inspiring active places for people, we tried different approaches to understand the community’s needs and desires. But when people were asked about a space, they couldn’t imagine themselves creating anything nicer there. They just didn’t think of a public space as a great place for people.”
Both images: The cube, Sao Paulo Brazil by Jeniffer Heemann
Cover image: UrbanBandagos, Sao Paulo Brazil by Jeniffer Heemann