Over the past two decades, cities have gained relevance in all areas of the environmental, social and economic discourse. The common denominator that gives cities its decisive prowess is its ability to concentrate people. Subsequently, positive interventions made in cities, have the ability to influence wider interconnected networks, thus achieving scalability. Though, if gone unmanaged, cities paradoxically give rise to negative consequences of urban concentration, often found in the form of crime and congestion.
Building on the success of the Future of Places conference series on public space (2013-2015), the global discussions on the importance of creating people centered cities has demonstrated its relevance. This series was organized by The Axel and Margaret Ax: son Johnson Foundation, PPS – Project for Public Spaces in New York and UN Habitat in Nairobi as well as KTH (Scientific Advisor). Present-day placemaking efforts, where these conferences were based, are a response to the systematic destruction of human-friendly and community centric spaces of the early 20th century. As a result, there was a need to mainstream this positive energy across the larger urban discourse and current planning & design paradigms in the form of a research centre for future of places situated at KTH.
Centre for the Future of Places will focus on how the city is planned, designed, and retrofitted best to meet both today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. Centre for the Future of Places (CFP) has been established to promote sustainable urban development by shifting the urban discourse from objects to places in order to promote healthy and livable cities, within the disciplines of Urban Planning and Urban Design. Through stringent research, Meta-analysis, issue papers, projects and the dissemination of information, Centre for the Future of Places will serve as the clearing house for promoting healthier cities through people centered urban development, thus shifting the discussion from objects to places.
Centre for the Future of Places is built upon the KTH/ABE Research platform on Urban Environments & Social Life, the Civitas Athenaeum Laboratory (CAL) that focuses on the importance of Public Spaces and Urban Places, and the Future of Places International Forum, which promotes the importance of public space and placemaking in city planning,
Axel and Margaret Ax: son Johnson Foundation is the foundation for the operations in the centre, i.e. the main financial contributor of the full research activity that will take place during the planned state of being in effect or the actual operative lifetime of the center.