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New, extended edition released

We are proud to launch the second, extended edition of The City at Eye Level.

The first edition appeared in 2013, was written with a community of 40 contributors and was aimed at the topic of active ground floors (plinths) in Europe and North-America. This second book has 90 contributors, has best practices of ALL continents and offers a broader view on placemaking and the entire street level experience. We have new, previously missing topics, such as the urban soundscape and wayfinding. Just as in the first edition, we draw the integrated conclusions for the approach at the end of the book. This time, we go more deeply into how the insights can be used for concrete action in practice.

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Partners and Contributors

We want to thank our new partners: UN Habitat, Future of Places, Project for Public Spaces (PPS.org), Gehl Architects, FAU PUCRS University of Porto Alegre in Brazil and Copenhagenize.

And of course, our 90+ contributors with whom we share our passion for great public spaces in great cities:

Elijah Agevi, Mishkat Ahmed-Raja, Cecilia Andersson, Hans Appelboom, Emiel Arends, Frank van Beek, Frank Belderbos, Rogier van den Berg, Emily Berwin, Willemijn de Boer, Nick Broad, Jose Chong, Alessandra Cianchetta, Mikael Colville-Andersen, Ciaran Cuffe, Richard Dobson, Vivian Doumpa, René Dutrieux, Paul Elleswijk, Gabor Everraert, Jos Gadet, Jan Gehl, Adriaan Geuze, Meredith Glaser, Arjan Gooijer, Peter Groenendaal, Sander van der Ham, Paolo Horn Regal, Samar Héchaimé, Jeniffer Heemann, Mattijs van ’t Hoff, David Jackson, Nel de Jager, Jeroen Jansen, Max Jeleniewski, Lotte Johansen Kaefer, Birgit Jürgenhake, Fred Kent, Hans Karssenberg, Berry Kessels, Joep Klabbers, Martin Knuijt, Lars Korn, Willem van Laar, Tine van Langelaar, Jeroen Laven, Willie Macrae, Kathy Madden, Camilla Meijer, Blaine Merker, Norman Mintz, Eri Mitsostergiou, Thaddeus Muller, Tanja Nagelsmeier, Peter Nieland, Renee Nycolaas, Kris Opbroek, Henk Ovink, Gerard Peet, Francisco Pailliè Pérez, Laura Petrella, Elisabeth Peyroux, Levente Polyák, Stefanie Raab, Tasmi Quazi, Solvejg Reigstad, Anna Robinson, Marlies Rohmer, Ben Ruse, Petra Rutten, Wies Sanders, Ton Schaap, Lai Shouhua, David Sim, Filip Smits, Stefan van der Spek, Alexander Stahle, Birgitte Svarre, Jan van Teeffelen, Marat Troina, Wouter Tooren, Eric van Ulden, Gert Jan te Velde, Mark van de Velde, Klaas Waarheid, Robin von Weiler, Kees Went, Jouke van der Werf, Tony Wijntuin, John Worthington, Xu Yunfei, Arin van Zee and Kim Zweerink.

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Share!

Please share the book as much as you can; that is why we publish it open source. We hope to positively influence as many cities as we can. So post it on your platforms and in your communities.

Order your hardcopy

Would you like a hardcopy? You can order it at our Shopify page for € 35 (shipping not included).

Links

Download The City at Eye Level (the book)

Download the A Cidade ao Nivel dos Olhos

Order your hardcopy of The City at Eye Level

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Plinth Strategy: a new way to see the city

A plinth is the ground floor facade of a building. It is a building’s most crucial part for the city at eye level. What do you as pedestrian experience when you look around? Are the buildings, their use and their design make an attractive urban environment where you feel at home? Do the plinths connect with pedestrian flows in the urban area? What are good functions for plinths? Which set of actions and partnerships are needed to transform dysfunctional plinths? The last few years, Stipo has worked on all kinds of plinth strategies: from the CityLounge programme in Rotterdam’s inner city to the transformation of Amsterdam’s ugliest into a welcoming street; from fashion in Arnhem’s Klarendal to better plinths in regeneration areas.

The Haarlemmerdijk in Amsterdam (PIC)

Why Plinths?

The city is not only a functional environment, but also an environment of experience. Function has been fairly dominant in the past few decades, due to the combination of a large post-war building production and the industrialisation of the construction process. However, now we experience, in western economies at least, the shift from ‘making the city’ to ‘being the city’. New construction and areas of growth will persist, but the reinvention of existing urban structures will become more dominant.

After the decades of functionalism, perhaps now a correction is necessary: more attention on the urban experience, or urban warmth as we call it from an urban psychological point of view. Besides, the knowledge economy, the ever larger interconnectivity on a global level, co-working, the increasing competition between shopping and residential areas, the growth of the urban-oriented people with a higher education, and the growing number of single and double households not only cause a massive revaluation of the city as a whole, but also make the experience of that city ever more important. The squares, parks and terraces are the places where knowledge workers exchange their ideas. Retail and culture are the places attracting more people, as are residential areas with an urban feel. It is all part of the larger movement of the urban renaissance, caused by the knowledge workers showing new interest in cities, those with mixed urban areas and great public spaces.

Antwerp (PIC)

Plinths and the Public Realm

Urbanites experience their cities in what we call the ‘public realm’. It has a broader meaning than just ‘public space’; it includes facades of buildings and everything that can be seen at eye level. Plinths are therefore a very important part of buildings: the ground floor, the city at eye level. A building may be ugly, but with a vibrant plinth, the experience can be positive. The other way around is possibly as well: a building can be very beautiful, but if the ground floor is a blind wall, the experience on the street level is hardly positive.

Plinths are crucial for the experience and attractiveness of the urban space, both in residential and commercial areas. Researches show that if the destination is safe, clean, relaxed and easily understood, and if visitors can wander around with their expectations met or exceeded, these visitors will remain three times longer and spend more money than in an unfriendly and confusing structure. Good plinths are in the interest of the urban economy, and not only because of consumers spending. A balanced labour market with enough people with a higher education demands a functional urban environment for living, shopping, and playing. The knowledge and experience economy requires spaces with character, a good atmosphere, a place to meet and to interact. The entire urban environment shapes this atmosphere, but plinths play a key role. The ground floor may be only 10% of a building, it determines 90% of the building’s contribution to the experience of the environment.

Mr Visserplein, inner city of Amsterdam. No doors. Good plinths are not self-evident. (PIC)

Good Plinths are Not Inherent

However logical this all may seem, we do not experience good plinths everywhere in cities. Why is that? In the projects we have worked on, we have found all kinds of reasons why the combination of interventions of government and market parties do not necessarily lead to good plinths.

To begin with many buildings of the past have been designed from a different design perspective and their plinths are simply not suitable for attractive public functions. At the same time there is the development of ‘drawing functions inside’, directing the attention more to the inside world rather than the urban environment: shopping malls, multifunctional complexes for leisure, care clusters and campuses often are bad examples of these. Monofunctional layouts and primary attention for car use worsen the situation, as do single-use office areas.

Plinths and the New Economy

When a plinth is successfully created, retail, cafes and restaurants often provide the highest profits. As a cause of this, attention is directed at commercial functions for most (re)development projects. But is this sustainable? The last ten years in The Netherlands saw a 50% increase in surface space dedicated to retail, while turnover in the sector remained the same. The coming years the retail sector expects an additional 30% to disappear as a consequence of internet shopping. These trends require a new perspective for programming plinths with different functions, such as properly designed housing on the ground floor. At the same time, we should stop clustering social functions such as primary schools in new multifunctional (and introvert) buildings, but to create spaces in flexible plinths that can change to new uses every decade or so.

Ypenburg, primary school in this child rich newly built area – in twenty years it can easily be used for other purposes. 

Many streets are under pressure; they have lost foot traffic and vacancy is increasing. Streets leading towards the city centres, streets around (public) transport junctions, streets in working areas and streets in residential areas are faced with vacancy or discrepancy (no suitable uses and/or a poor image). This trend can partly be seen as a natural urban life cycle, and partly by other influential causes, such as the focus of shifting inner cities, poor rental policies, or design failures.

As residential functions, co-working, shopping and leisure are more and more footloose, experience is becoming more and more important. New trends can improve the quality of plinths, such as authentic shopping, the need for new co-working cafes, temporary creative functions, and pop-up stores. In any case, a good plinth strategy will have to embrace a wide range of functions, including social functions and houses on the ground floor level.

Key Plinth Players

Besides these trends it is useful to look into some of the most important players’ positions: developers, owners, entrepreneurs, and renters. For project developers, the plinth is most of all part of their building, rather than aiming at creating a street. On top of that, financially, they are of secondary importance. When there is enough support for the offices or apartments on the higher floors, construction can be started. A plinth in use is then a bonus but not a breakpoint for the investment decision.

Office owners are satisfied when they can rent 90% of their buildings. For them, the plinth is often an entirely different, difficult and fragmented market. In most single-user office buildings the ground floor is merely an entry or security point. From the user’s viewpoint, as we can see in many office streets, these plinths contribute very little to the quality and attractiveness of the urban public realm.

Unfortunately, also many designers fail. Not all, but yet many architects are focussed more on designing buildings rather than creating good streets. And also in the design of the adjacent public realm all kinds of interests play a role, such as traffic, and experience and residential quality do not necessarily come first. Last but not least, private users who sometimes prefer (and are allowed) to close their shades towards the street.

As we can see, although we all realize their importance, good plinths are not in the least self-evident. The coming decades there will be more economic pressure on plinths, and local authorities and property owners will have to collaborate if they want good streets. To put it differently: attaining good plinths and a good urban experience realm requires an active government and an active market. A strategy is needed in which governments, developers, designers, owners, and renters each play their own parts. And because each neighbourhood and each street is different, they each require a different strategy.

Coolsingel Rotterdam, before and after the plinth strategy.

Criteria for Good Plinths

What then are good and bad plinths? In order to be able to value this, together with the City of Rotterdam’s Urban Planning and Economic Affairs Departments, we have developed a set of criteria. As it turned out it is necessary to research on three levels: building, street, and context.

Haarlem, simply good houses in the plinth. 

In close cooperation with the City of Rotterdam, and making use of the previous works ‘Close encounters with buildings’ (Centre for Public Space Research/Realdania Research, Institute for Planning, School of Architecture, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, 2004), ‘Towards a Fine City for People’ (Jan Gehl, 2004), and Great Streets (Alan Jacobs, 1995), and using our own experience in practice, Stipo has developed a three-layer set of criteria that should be part of each analysis and strategy for plinths: building, street, and context.
The building:

  • small scale units
  • variety of functions
  • transparent façades
  • special character of the architecture
  • richness in material
  • vertical orientation of the façade
  • a well functioning ‘hybrid zone’ (the transition from private to public)
  • appropriate signing
  • flexibility in height (4m)
  • flexibility in the land use plan (zoning)

The street:

  • pleasure to walk in
  • physical comfort (wind, sound, sun, shadow, maintenance)
  • definition (the height should at least be half the width)
  • variation in buildings
  • quality that binds the eye
  • good tree canopy
  • parking facilities
  • clear beginning and ending of the street
  • possibilities to sit
  • density

The context:

  • plinth-oriented consumer audience (pedestrian streams day and night, 5-20 passers-by per width meter per minute, economic and cultural capital in the surrounding neighbourhoods)
  • special urban programme or a special cluster of economic or cultural functions
  • good connections to the network of squares and parks
  • partners who take initiative
  • coherent urban design
  • a good position in the urban fabric and in the city’s walking and cycling routes

Each of these levels provides ‘buttons’ to push for a plinth strategy. The levels cannot be separate from each other, they interact; without enough people living in the area, for instance, or lack of purchasing power, a shop can have a fantastic plinth, but still will find it hard to survive. A single building may be well-designed (from a street perspective), but if the rest of the street has blind façades it will not function on its own. A street may be great, but if it is not connected to the main streams of pedestrians in the city centre, it will find it harder to function.

By analysing the plinths along these levels Stipo builds a joint vision, supported by the partners (owners, renters, government) and helps implement it, including temporary and new street concepts.

Plinth trends

In practice we not only see a new interest from both the users and the designers point of view, but we are at the same time also faced with massive changes on the programme side. Functions such as retail, residential, commercial, and social functions are faced with recent developments that provide new threats and new opportunities for plinths. The following are some of the most important that we encounter:

Seeing these trends, we find that good plinths cannot be made by retail only. According to some estimates, due to the combination of the oversupply created in the last ten years and the rise of internet shopping, half the current shops will disappear from our streets. Of course, new formulas will come up, but it is clear that we cannot solely rely on shops to create a better public realm. Therefore, in setting up plinth strategies, we also look at new economic functions such as co-working places, of course restaurants and cafes (but there is a limit there too), social functions such as elementary schools, and most of all living on the ground floor.

Rotterdam Plinth Strategy, new maps: “let’s meet at…” (PIC)

Rotterdam’s Plinth Strategy

Rotterdam is a good example of what a plinth strategy can mean for a city. Rotterdam is looking for contemporary ways to improve the residential qualities of its inner city with methods that suit the post-war reconstruction character. The city fully realizes that the image of the city as a whole largely depends on the image of the inner city.

After a pilot in three streets, the urban planning department, the inner city project team, the economic department and Stipo have analysed the situation in the city centre. This lead to a new analytic language in which pedestrian flows at different moments of the day, the increase of property values and mapping places of “let’s meet at…” are some of the analysed layers. Also, a function map was made, however not as usual for the entire building, but for the city at eye level only. It made it clear how the inner city ground floors are made of monofunctional islands of living, working, culture and shopping. By combining the layers of the analysis, now ten areas have been pinpointed where an intervention is needed, divided by short-, mid- and long-term approach.

The analysis can be found in the Analysis book for the Rotterdam Plinth Strategy (PDF, 4 Mb, in Dutch) and theAtlas for the Rotterdam Plinth Strategy. The Rotterdam Plinth Strategy (PDF, in Dutch) itself can also be downloaded after it was adopted by Rotterdam’s politicians.

International Comparison

One aspect of good, varied streets is to have compact concentrations of different functions in the plinth. For the Amsterdam Weesperstraat we compared which kind of units can be found at which distance. We compared some of the internationally renowned ‘Great Streets’ (Allan Jacobs): Regent Street in London, Champs-Elysées and Boulevard St. Michel in Paris, and Paseo de Gracia in Barcelona. In The Netherlands we analysed vibrant streets such as Amsterdam’s Haarlemmerdijk and Overtoom and Rotterdam’s De Meent, and less lively streets such as Rotterdam’s Weena, and Amsterdam’s Wibautstraat and Weesperstraat.

Our main conclusions are:

  • Great Streets have an average of a new unit every 10 meters with a house, a public function or an office (this means 8-10 units in every 100 meters)
  • Great Streets have a minimum of a new public function in every 15 meters (6-8 public functions every 100 meters)
  • Offices are not important for Great Streets, living is possible if not too dominant as a single function. Mostly public functions create Great Streets: shops, cafes, restaurants, education.

Weesperstraat in Amsterdam has an average of a public function 103 meters. Haarlemmerdijk, on the other side of the spectrum, has a public function every 8 meters. However, the Weesperstraat analysis showed that it is possible to adapt the existing buildings’ ground floors in such a way that the street would approach the average of the Great Streets. Combined with its good location in the city of Amsterdam, Weesperstraat could become a better street for pedestrians. This is a strategy we currently work on in close collaboration with the local authority and the property owners in the street, creating a vision and a coalition to transform this car-oriented office street into a metropolitan street that combines traffic and space for pedestrians.

Number of units on each side of the street per 100 meters, accumulative (green: commercial, red: residential, blue: public functions) (GRAPH)

Lately, Stipo has worked on Plinth Strategies in several projects:

  • Plinth pilots (in Dutch) in three streets in the inner city of Rotterdam (City of Rotterdam)
  • The City at Eye Level, Plinth Strategy for the entire city centre of Rotterdam (City of Rotterdam)
  • De nieuwe kracht van Klarendal (in Dutch), Fashion as catalyst for urban regeneratioin in Arnhem’s new fashion quarter Klarendal (City of Arnhem and National Building Supervisor)
  • Plinth Strategy for the Amsterdam Weesperstraat, conditions and transition strategy for a street better for pedestrians (City of Amsterdam)
  • Shopping centre Ypenburg in The Hague, plinth analysis with interdisciplinary team knowledge team of knowledge organisation (SEV/Public Realm)
  • Plinth interventions in flats in urban renewal areas in Zutphen and Deventer (housing provider Woonbedrijf Ieder1 and innovation network PLUK)

We are currently working on a street vision and a coalition of property owners on Weesperstraat in Amsterdam, and on a coalition for the plinth strategy of Eilandenboulevard in Amsterdam. Stipo is working on further knowledge exchange with many partners on the plinth strategy, among others an international Plinth Manual in English.

First English edition, 2013

The first edition focused mostly on plinths and on cases in West Europe and North America (whereas the second edition has cases from all continents and focuses on the entire experience of the street user, including placemaking).

The plinths of the city are the ground floors that negotiate between the inside and the outside, between the public and the private: this is the city at eye level. Plinths are extremely important for the urban experience, which in turn is an important driver for the urban economy. The plinths might cover only 10% of the building, but determine 90% of the experience. While walking, you consciously and subconsciously examine the immediate eye-level surroundings and absorb any details.

Our book shows you how a good plinth “works” for a better street at eye level. It contains concrete and inspiring examples of strategies for design, land use/programme, the relation to the street, passenger flows and the collaboration of partners. The book is a collection of stories from over 25 experts all over the world: a collective product with lessons from planners, owners, managers and designers. In addition to many international examples and case studies, the book contains several interviews and research articles. It concludes with practical lessons for the reader to put into practice in their own cities.

Below you can find the download option for the book.

For the entire book (8MB): The City at Eye Level (the book)

For specific chapters:

Preface & Introduction

The Planned & the Organic City

Case Studies 1 Area Development

Public Realm & the User

Property & Development

Case Studies 2 City Streets

Ownership & Management

Revitalizing & Renewal

Case Studies 3 Regeneration

Conclusions & Lessons

Appendix

The history of this book begins in Rotterdam.


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History

The history of this book lies in Rotterdam. After the bombing in World War II, Rotterdam has been busy reinventing the city ever since. The focus has been on rebuilding the inner city. High-quality and successful buildings, plinths and public spaces can be found sideby-side to places and buildings with little quality and little success. The building production was sometimes more important than the quality of the buildings and streets. From the mid-90s, the emphasis in Rotterdam shifted from quantity to quality. The expertise of international experts like John Worthington inspired civil servants and market forces. Driven professionals such as Jan van Teeffelen embraced the inspiration, and made the lessons applicable.

In 2011, the inner city planning department of Rotterdam asked Stipo to help invent a plinth approach. We started with three pilots, and ended up developing a plinth strategy for the whole inner city. The great plinth team we created made it all possible: Renate Veerkamp, Gábor Everraert and Emiel Arends still play an important role in implementing and further developing the strategy. We were privileged to have support from the Economic Development Board Rotterdam, who stressed the urgency of good plinths.

The development of Rotterdam’s plinth strategy led to a mild form of professional deformation. Suddenly we saw bad plinths everywhere, and complex and simple ways to improve them. At the same time, by looking around, we discovered many inspiring examples of good plinths from around the world. This was good enough reason for us to compile this book, as an inspiration for all those people working on good plinths and for those who would like to.

We are extremely grateful for the dozens professionals from around the world who selflessly contributed to the book, by writing an article, partaking in an interview, or developing content. We are indebted to the multitalented designer and architect Paola Faora who helped us with the beautiful design of this book. We are most of all grateful to Meredith Glaser and Mattijs van ‘t Hoff, for all their work in both the interviewing of people, editing texts, their ideas of the product, and their positive energy and approach.

Finally, we are grateful to those organisations, willing to help us with the last step, the production and promotion of the book: AIR, the EDBR, the municipality of Rotterdam, the Delta Metropolis Association, the EFL Stichting, and Locatus.

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“Creating places without designers”

An interview with professor David Canter, architectural psychologist and founder of Investigative Psychology.

HOW IS A PLACE DEFINED?

In order to identify a place, it is important to distinguish what are the main attributes that constitute a place. It emerges out of the combination of actions, conceptualisations and physical form (although the physical form can be virtual, as in a ‘place on the World Wide Web). In order to identify a place, it is important to know the associated or anticipated actions for a specific location; the physical parameters of the setting as well as the descriptions or conception people have of that locations and the sorts of actions that are typical of that environment.

“We should never think of places, just as physical entities, whose
meaning is defined by, the planners and the designers. Even in the
most apparently open context Places are shaped by human action and
experience.”

Click here to read and download this article

Schermafbeelding 2017-10-31 om 16.58.03Schermafbeelding 2017-10-31 om 16.57.41

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The City at Eye Level Spring Training

Rotterdam
April 16th – 18th, 2018

Join us this spring and learn about improving cities and creating great streets and places for people. Discover placemaking and placemanagement, bike-friendly cities, tactical urbanism and how to implement a long term strategy. Become a member of The City at Eye Level community and expand your network with an international and interdisciplinary group of professionals.

Sign up now!

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How do we create great streets and places where people want to be? Join our City at Eye Level Training and learn how to improve cities, streets and places by developing a people-centered approach to placemaking. Learn about analyzing places with eye level and place games, develop a specific strategy by using the City at Eye Level toolbox.

Learn about:

  • The City at Eye Level: creating streets and places for people2016-08-22-16-08-11
  • Placemaking: turn public spaces into great places where people want to be
  • Adopting a community-based approach: involve and activate ownership
  • Tactical Urbanism: lighter-quicker-cheaper actions to start change now
  • Develop visions and criteria for newly built areas or for transforming existing areas
  • Mobility and movement: bicycle-friendly cities, infrastructure, culture, and design.
  • Place and street management: building coalitions as a long-term sustainable strategy

Get inspired by examples from international practices and exchange ideas with participants from other disciplines and organizations.

Where:

Rotterdam – Where The City at Eye Level started. Rotterdam is a modernist city that has been working on inner city improvement extensively and has lots of inspiring cases for street improvement and placemanagement.

In Rotterdam, we are based in ZOHO, an area that we brought back to life in the past years, using the tools of The City at Eye Level and Placemaking. Working with the community, STIPO redeveloped this dead area into an innovation district. It is a “Living Lab” for tactical urbanism, reactivating ground floors and vacant buildings, makers and social enterprises, and placemaking and placemanagement.

Program:

Day 1: Great Places. Explore the city. Learn about the theory behind turning anonymous spaces into exciting, lively places where people feel at home — and put your knowledge into practice. We’ll walk and learn about ZOHO. After an deeper introduction on placemaking we’ll be learning by doing by implementing the Place Game tool in a concrete place. We’ll reflect on the method for your own practice afterwards.

Day 2: Great Streets. Exploring streets. We will experience high quality people-centred public spaces in the city that is continually transforming itself. We’ll visit streets in higher and lower income areas, in existing and newly built situations. We will learn about how to get great ‘plinths’ — active ground floors — and streets We will walk and talk with the people behind the transformations. We’ll implement the Eye Level game tool for analysing and improving streets in Rotterdam.

Day 3: Street and Place Management. A day of reflection, developing process strategies and putting ideas into action. We will learn about how to set up processes of change by a range of sessions developing organisation models, processes and business cases for concrete streets and places — inspired by a range of examples from practice. A great chance to share your own practice with the international group.

Learn from:

The City at Eye Level initiating partners at STIPO and a network of City at Eye Level contributors, including international leaders in placemaking, urban designers and planners. Guest lecturers from various field experts will present their projects and on and offsite cases.

Through our worldwide network of contributing partners we can help cities and people anywhere to develop strategies to create and improve their own great City at Eye Level.

 

Our core partners is Project for Public Spaces. Next to that, we have a worldwide network like Future of Places and UN Habitat, many local partners and contributors with whom we work together to utilize locally rooted knowledge and networks.

For who:

  • experts working on improving streets, plazas and parks in cities
  • professionals in public space and urban planning
  • traffic engineers and bicycle advocates
  • civic leaders active in placemaking and community-driven approaches
  • politicians looking to improve public space
  • entrepreneurs, real estate owners and developers who want to learn about the City at Eye Level
  • students and young professionals who want to develop their skills

We offer:

  • A three-day course at our headquarters in the centre of Rotterdam
  • Learning by doing at inspiring locations
  • Background material for theory and practice and a pragmatic action toolbox from The City at Eye Level, Project for Public Spaces and STIPO
  • International experience and examples and membership to the international City at Eye Level community 
  • Access to all our open source resources and a copy of “The City at Eye Level – second and extended version” and our new book of great Dutch examples “The City at Eye Level in The Netherlands”.
  • An interdisciplinary group at the masterclass and a lasting membership of the global City at Eye Level community

Price:

Fees including lectures, book, materials, local travel costs, lunches, dinner (on the first day) and end drinks(on the last day): € 750 (ex. VAT & registration fee)

Or apply for one of five available scholarship for students & zealous nuts: fee €200 (ex. VAT & registration fee). For more info and conditions on the submission, click here.

Download the flyer

Sign up now!

If  you’re interested to join us in the spring 2018, please buy a ticket on our Eventbrite page. Or if you are working for an organisation (like a municipality) and you are not able to buy a ticket right away, then send us a mail to sienna.veelders@stipo.nl and we will send you a invoice. Deadline to buy tickets: 6th of April 2018. 

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“Place vs. Space: how refugees led to a successful public space in Greater Cairo”

An interview with Amira Badran, an architect/ urban planner, and placemaker.

The growing population and the increasing density of the Central Greater Cairo, Egypt, created the need of expanding to the surrounding areas. The new cities that developed in the Greater Cairo’s desert faced a lot of challenges. The author researched a successful example of a desert city, that was created by Syrian immigrants and identified three factors that contributed to the success.

“The approach of place-led development will not only connect and make efficient the spaces between buildings leading to more socially-knit communities but also build a governance strategy based on a preset ideology of community-based planning and local development of city spaces.”

Click here to read and download this article

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©UNHCRseven
 Place-led Strategy graph by Amira Badran
For cover picture credits: ©Hana Gamal

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“Placemaking for peacemaking in Beirut”

An interview with Rony Al Jalkh, a placemaking activist and practitioner in Beirut. In the diverse Lebanon capital, Beirut, he is joining efforts to promote and establish peacemaking through bringing people together for placemaking. In cooperation with the American University of Beirut, a project within the student’s course,  brought together students, instructors, municipality leaders, civil society organizations and members from the private sector in order to raise awareness, mobilize community, and increase public space provision for peacemaking.  

“The difference between placemaking and peacemaking is only one letter. If we replace the “e” with an “l” in peacemaking, we can begin to work towards ensuring a sustainable peace among the different groups within a community.”

Rony Al Jalkh, in collaboration with STIPO and Notre Dame University, will host the Metropolitan Field Trip in Beirut on the 13th till the 16th of September. For more information about the Field Trip visit our Facebook event. And for more information about Rony Al Jalkh, check out this link on the webpage of PPS.

Click here to read and download this article

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Student survey in the streets of Beirut

Neighbourhood intervention site ©Rania Lteif, Mariam Yehya & Jawad Souhaid

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Placemaking Week 2017 is coming to Amsterdam!

Schermafbeelding 2017-09-19 om 09.32.56We are proud to announce the coming Placemaking Week 2017, which will take place this Fall in Amsterdam on October 10-14, 2017Building upon the momentum of last year’s successful event in Vancouver, Project for Public Spaces, in partnership with STIPOThe City at Eye LevelPlacemaking Plus and Pakhuis de Zwijger will host the placemaking event in Amsterdam! 

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“Europe’s Longest Shared Space”

CASE STUDY: Mariahilfer Strasse, Vienna, Austria

An interview with Mascha Onderwater, Landscape architect, Bureau B+B. In this case study Onderwater will tell you something about her project for the Mariahilfer Strasse, a fancy nineteenth century shopping boulevard in Vienna. The City of Vienna wanted to transform the street into an inviting, pedestrian friendly avenue. The 1,6 km long street has been redesigned as a continuous shared space, Europe’s longest shared space, divided into three zones.

Where pedestrians rule the inner zone of the street and the two outer zones designated as ‘shared spaces’. In the shared space principle, cars, bikes and pedestrians all use the same space. It took some time for the people of Vienna to get used to the idea of shared space, Viennese are fond of driving. Interventions likes information meetings, together with the designers, closing down for traffic one afternoon and a referendum about the new design showed that investing in local participation really shows off. In the end, 71% of the people were positive about the transformation of the Mariahilfer Strasse.

 “People now move together in a unified space. They stroll and linger. There are now more places for young people to meet up. (…) A new way of life is evolving.”

– Günther Meier, center-manager

Click here to read and download this article

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Before and after, Mariahilfer, Vienna 

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The comment table, Mariahilfer, Vienna
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Scholarship The City at Eye Level Spring Masterclass

This Spring we will host our third City at Eye Level Training! Are you a student, alumni or a zealous nut and would you like to join, but is the ticket almost all you earn in a month? We have five scholarships available for the masterclass: €200 (ex. BTW and registration fee). Quick check our conditions and apply!

Context:

We experience a gap between insights from scientific studies on improving the city at eye level and the quality of public space; and how these insights are being used in practice. The City at Eye Level wants to bridge that gap by translating theoretical insights into methods for practice.

Contribution:

Write a short essay on how you can translate theory into practice (in relation to The City at Eye Level concept, public space, human behaviour, placemaking, place management, long term strategies, etc). It can either be an example of a case/project you conducted yourself, or a case/project of somebody else you think is a great example you definitely want to share with the City at Eye Level community.

Conditions:

  • Status:
    • Student (bachelor (year: 2+) or master) or alumnus (max. since 2 years)
    • Zealous Nut: practitioner in placemaking that is working with local communities and is freelancer or working for a non-governmental organisation.
  • The short essay should be around 800 words.
  • Language: English
  • At least two high resolution pictures, free of rights.
  • Add a short bio of yourself consisting of three lines; when accepted your name will be added to the list of contributors on the website
  • The content should add a new angle or topic not mentioned in the book yet, or deepen an existing topic
  • All contributions are subject to editing
  • Please see an example PDF of a chapter from the current book
  • All good articles will be published on www.thecityateyelevel.com and on our City at Eye Level Facebook page. By submitting you agree with publishing.
  • The writers of the best articles will be selected for the five available spots during the masterclass

Please help promote this call for chapters and the Spring Training through your own channels and networks!

Apply for a scholarship by sending in your submission to us. Deadline for submission: 19th of March 2018. 

Winners will be announced on the 30th of March!

 

 

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“Take Action #2 – District: Bottom-up meets top-down at eye level”

Jeroen Laven (STIPO), Gert Jan te Velde (Vanschagen architekten) and Paul Elleswijk (Havensteder), write in Take Action #2 about the transformation of ZOHO, the Zomerhofkwartier in Rotterdam. They explain how they’ve used slow urbanism in this former industrial/business area and the use of local key-players like Roodkapje, Hostel de Mafkees and Restaurant Gare du Nord. Since this is a continuance development, follow their Facebook page for more news and recent developments!

“In 2013, Havensteder decided to take a risk with ZOHO and give ‘slow urbanism’ a change. For a period of 10 years, the area has the opportunity to redevelop itself. Unless a party would come with a financial offer we can’t refuse, ZOHO could give itself new meaning for the city. The area could rediscover its own future.”

Click here to read and download this article

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Both pictures: ©Gergo Hevesi