Transforming Cities through Placemaking and Public Spaces
The Future of Places forum will open in Stockholm, Sweden on June 24-26th, 2013 – a few days after the Midsummer holiday – a time when Stockholm truly unveils its natural beauty.
This forum will be the first of three conferences that will lead up to Habitat III in 2016, with the overall aim of contributing to a New Urban Agenda around people and places. The Future of Places forum will highlight how and why cities need to embrace a people centered approach in order to achieve positive urbanization and avoid falling victim to the negative attributes often accompanying urbanization. Examples of best practices and future pipeline projects will be defined throughout the conference series.
The world has a choice. Cities can continue to grow chaotically without regard to human social needs and environmental consequences or we can embrace a sustainable and equitable process which builds community, enhances quality of life, and creates safe and prosperous neighborhoods. We are convinced that in the future, the most functional cities will be the ones that encapsulate the public realm and the people who utilize these places. This is a people centered vision for cities – one that enables a transformative shift in the traditional planning and management of cities, a shift that benefits everyone, specifically those at the bottom of the economic ladder.
City growth is all too often seen as a problem. We believe that the problem is not the rapid growth of cities per say, however, but the inability of cities to manage growth to best utilize limited space and community resources in pursuit of sustainable urban development. When we begin looking at cities in a positive light, we can see new opportunities for grassroots advocates and city governments alike – to build relationships, to take action, to create positive experiences for people, and to encourage the creative interaction that is essential to creating great cities.