The City at Eye Level Spring Masterclass

April 3rd – 5th, 2017

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!


How do we create great streets and places where people want to be? Join our City at Eye Level Masterclass 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.


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.


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.

Guest lectures from various field experts, among others Meredith Glaser of the University of Amsterdam on Bike and People-friendly Cities.

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, among others Meredith Glaser of the University of Amsterdam on Bike and People-friendly Cities.

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.

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Our core partners include Project for Public SpacesGehl ArchitectsFuture of PlacesUN HabitatCopenhagenize and the FAU PUCRS University in Porto Alegre. Next to that, we have a worldwide network of 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 book
  • An interdisciplinary group at the masterclass and a lasting membership of the global City at Eye Level community


Fees including lectures, book, materials, local travel costs, lunches and dinner: € 750 (ex. VAT & registration fee)

Or apply for one of three available scholarship for students: fee €150 (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 2017, please buy a ticket on out 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.


“The Importance of Local Heroes”

Hans Appelboom, owner of Duikelman tells about his experiences as entrepeneur. Duikelman is a specialty kitchen equipment store in the bohemian neighborhood of The Pijp, Amsterdam.

How does ownership and local control over real estate influence plinth redevelopment and revitalization?

“I’d like to make a remark on the often heard idea of a necessity for flexibility in (the use of) property and the levels of rent. Project developers and landlords on speculative base tend not to think on a long term. Often they set for the highest return on their investments, resulting in tenants of the well known kind. Real estate owners should be involved in an early stage in new plans and strategies in order to convince them that a long term vision is better for everyone.”

Click here to read and download this article

de kracht van specialisatie
Both images © Jan van Teeffelen 

“In the Meanwhile”

An article from our book by Emily Berwyn, director of London-based company Meanwhile Space. In 2009, the recession was beginning to hit hard in the UK; businesses were going under, developments stalled, high streets were declining and unemployment was soaring. We noticed that vacant property and lapsed developments were a missed opportunity in the ‘meanwhile’, and it was almost impossible to access these spaces. The abundance of empty properties compound the decline of high streets (also called main streets), yet local people who need space to develop new business ideas and innovative uses for high-street spaces are excluded by the archaic property industry. It seemed to us that there was a great opportunity here—if only we could get hold of the space!

“Our vision for an ideal ground floor is one where vacant space does not exist; that vacant periods are foreseen and ‘curated’ to give people a chance to test an idea, in a highly visible, low risk and affordable way, even for a few weeks or months. This requires a transparency of ownership, a flexible approach to bureaucracies, and a central point all the knowledge on an area so it is easily accessible.”

Click here to read and download this article

p260a 71-4. Queens Parade, Willesden Green BEFORE London UK - CREDIT Mike Massaro

BEFORE: Queens Parade, Willesden Green London UK ©Mike Massaro
p260b 71-5. Queens Parade, Willesden Green AFTER London UK - CREDIT Mike Massaro
AFTEr: Queens Parade, Willesden Green London UK ©Mike Massaro
Cover picture: Cottrell House, Wembley London UK ©Dostofos



Stockholm at Eye Level

Last October we spent 5 very busy days in Stockholm delivering a Plinth Game, Stockholm Edition. We very much enjoyed our days in Stockholm; there was great enthusiasm and momentum, it was great to walk the streets with the 40+ participants. We learned so much from the process and from their questions. We hope this will lead to many new collaborations in the new year.
We are very pleased to share the final, extensive report, with all the results of the workshops. It consists of three parts:
  1. an introduction to the why, what and how of investing in a better Stockholm at Eye Level;
  2. the overwhelming results of our plinth game, visiting 12 locations in Stockholm, giving ideas for concrete improvement and conclusions for criteria for better plinths (bottenvåninger!) and
  3. ideas for your follow-up strategy, also based on the open space workshop we held on Friday with the whole group.

To stay informed, we’d like to invite you to become a member of our Facebook and our LinkedIn Group. It would be great if you could contribute to the discussions; starting soon, we will launch the plinth of the week (each week on Monday, a new plinth to be discussed, sharing international examples of good and bad examples), the chapter of the month (calling for reactions) and other discussions and inspiration.

Thank you Stockholm!


Museumplein: from space to place

About 30 participants came to the placemaking session on Friday, including the Director of Concertgebouw, the Alderman, urban planners, entrepreneurs, and city- and neighborhood-level leaders. After an tntroduction by Fred from PPS and a short summary of Thursday’s placemaking game at the Pakhuis de Zwijger, we all headed out into the cold October air to walk  Museumplein and the surrounding areas.

At one point Fred conducted a mini-placemaking game with the group and that really got the juices flowing! Everyone split into smaller groups and came up 10 programs for 10 spaces in different parts of the square. There was lots of enthusiasm!

What were the goals of the day? It was basically a reconnaissance mission: we were trying to connect the institutes, users, (residents, entrepreneurs, institutes, visitors), with the space of the Museumplein. We wanted to rediscover and reconnect the different parts of Museumplein to the places and destination they have the potential to be. We also had in mind the Power of 10, to take it down a level and think in terms of programming the space.


What were some immediate results, quick wins of the day? No doubt about it: a growing energy and a growing network between the participants. A sense that it doesnt have to be difficult: it can be simple, short-term, experimental solutions that make the difference. In the end, iterative place-based strategies means that nothing is permanent. So when can we begin?


Placemaking on Museumplein

The Museum Quarter is a unique location in Amsterdam: it comprises no fewer than five world-class cultural institutions: the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Concertgebouw and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. For the people of Amsterdam, the best works of Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Rietveld, as well as concerts by Bach, Händel or Liszt in one of the world’s best concert halls, are just around the corner.

In the immediate vicinity we find the Vondel Park, P.C. Hooft Street (the most up-market shopping street in the Netherlands), Van Baerle Street, the Spiegel Quarter (specializing in antiquities, linked to the Rijksmuseum function) and the northern section of the Pijp district (the ‘Quartier Latin’ of Amsterdam, where Amsterdammers themselves go out nowadays).

However, these areas are not linked, and the user groups are very separated. This week we will take a closer look at Museumplein with Fred Kent and Kathy Madden, from Project for Public Spaces, Peter from Placemaking Plus, and Meredith and Hans from Stipo. With a select group of participants, including planners, directors from the institutions,  local politicians, and entrepreneurs, we will discuss: How can we reconnect the institutions to the grassy “square”? How can we connect the surrounding areas to the Museumplein? Where can we make quick fixes? All this and more (and a video!) to come.

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A walk though Kreuzberg | Berlin at eye level

After dividing into smaller groups, to tackle this city more efficiently, we met up with Cordelia Polinna from Think Berlin. We stopped at Suppengroen for a quick, delicious vegetarian lunch, and then headed to the Spreefeld project.


The Spree is a very interesting collaborative project, essentially a cooperative building for mixed uses. They have dedicated their ground level as public and semi-public space, and all the residents help fund the ground floor–both the building and programming.  Maybe on our next trip to Berlin, we’ll see the finished product!



Our next stop was the Markthalle. This old market hall, built in the 1890s, was left abandoned and finally restored a couple years ago. An initiative among the locals kept the market just that way: local. Now it is filled with produce stands and local vendors, like bakers and chefs. They also hold weekend events and it’s a very lively atmosphere.

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Continuing on our walking tour, our next stop was the Karl-Marx-Strasse in the heart of Neukolln. We were going to see the Klunkerkranich project, but we first had to find the shopping mall. Klunker was at the top of it.

How could we miss it? It was quite massive, and terribly out of place on this rather local commercial street. Cordelia explained to us that the street has always been problematic for commercial uses: lots of vacancy, no charm, lots of traffic. The super-sized mall was supposed to be a miracle solution and would bring new people into the area. It didn’t. Moreover, one of the greatest resources, especially for the surrounding lower-income community, was hidden away on the 3rd floor of the mall: the public library. You can barely see the vertically-oriented sign that reads “Bibliotheck” in small letters. Not surprisingly, the library is largely underused.



Despite the downsides, the real treat was the top floor of this massive mall. You exit the elevator, thinking you’re still in a parking garage, walk around the corner and up the ramp, and then you reach the small paradise of the Klunkerkranich and Farbfelder projects. A community project completed by a group of about 500 people and about €100.000, it is an urban farm, music venue, and cafe/bar. We spoke with the founder, a young guy wearing baggy pants,  a hoodie, and long dreads. He was very casual about the project–“we just asked the mall, who asked the parking garage company, who asked the real estate company and then got together about 500 people and built it.” The main challenge has been the contract with the real estate company.  A one-year contract makes it a difficult decision to invest in things like proper irrigation for the farm. But they are taking things one step at a time.

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A walk through Mitte | Berlin at eye level

Along with AIR Foundation and the City of Rotterdam, we lead a group of 40 urban planners, architects, and real estate professionals to Berlin. We were on a mission to see the city’s best examples of temporary use, cooperatives, collaborations, and revitalization projects. Of course we were also interested in the plinths, and the city at eye level.

Our first full day started with a tour by Dutch local, Vincent Kompier. He lead us through Mitte and over to the Department of Urban Planning. We saw a great diversity of streetscape: construction zones, quiet semi-public courtyards, large historic open spaces, formal gathering areas, various commercials scales, and river front residential.

From our first observations and first walk through the city, it was very clear that Berliners prioritize community, art, and the city’s history in the way they produce their cityscape. Each is demonstrated in their own, Berlin way, and they overlap as well.

Mitte is the center of Berlin, but also a diverse and bohemian neighborhood. Lively, organic, bursting with energy. It can also be quiet and reserved. These dichotomous themes were visible throughout the whole study trip.

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