This session moves to re-think and re-interrogate the notion of place-making. By re-grounding our understanding of what it means to make place in real world, organic lived experiences, Rashiq Fataar of Our Future Cities hosts a session that reframes placemaking and moves towards constructing a New Placemaking Agenda inspired by the stories of African cities.
Monique Marks of the Urban Futures Centre at the Durban University of Technology shared insights into what placemaking for the marginalized could and should look like through her experiences at the Bellhaven Harm Reduction Centre, which works to provide opioid substitution therapy to the city’s drug using population. She highlighted the importance of creating spaces of dignity and engaging meaningfully with a group of diverse stakeholders.
Stephanie Briers, an architect and PhD candidate at ETH in Zurich shared powerful insights from her work in public space in informal settlements. She emphasized that the particular power of lighting in these public spaces is that it doesn’t govern what a place should be, and instead creates opportunities for ownership, appropriation and self-determination within the community.
Franklin Kirimi of the Kounkuey Design Initiative spoke about a project run by this organization in Kibera, Nairobi that saw a dumping site transform into a multifunctional, community-led public space. The commitment to co-design and growing community involvement and ownership throughout the project was a clear factor in the level of sustainable and wide-reaching impact that this project was able to achieve.
Malaika Toyo of Made Culture spoke of art and festivals as a means to engage with the community and galvanize social action. She expressed the importance of understanding placemaking actions and interventions as prototypes or pilots, and prioritizing continued experimentation. She also proposed a shift in focus away from design-based interventions and towards interaction based interventions.
Panelists and participants together collaborated on putting together a New Placemaking Agenda, which included ideas like understanding placemaking as transient, and the importance of users performing the role of overseers and providers in their public spaces.
Host: Our Future Cities (OFC), with session moderation by Rashiq Fataar
Speakers: Monique Marks (Professor, Urban Futures Centre) – Durban, South Africa, Malaika Toyo (Principal Director, Made Culture) – Lagos, Nigeria, Franklin Kirimi (Landscape Design Coordinator, Kounkuey Design Initiative) – Kenya & Stephanie Briers (Chair of Sociology, Institute of Science, Technology and Policy) – Zürich, Switzerland