Cities for All: Gentrification, Public Space, and the Tools of Placemaking
The Centre for the Future of Places was a proud sponsor and co-organizer of the "Cities for All" conference that took place on April 12-13 2018 at Färgfabriken in Stockholm.
How can cities, civil society and professionals meet the challenges of growing gentrification, displacement, and loss of affordability, especially in city cores? How can they maintain quality of life, cultural heritage, economic vitality, and other benefits of urban living? What role does public space provide in creating a forum for all within the city - and how can this forum be made available to all? These questions were all related to the central themes of the conference.
Stockholm is one of the fastest growing cities in Europe, and one of the most segregated. Even though new developments are furthering segregation, there is a momentum in Sweden to make a change in the model of urban development. Inclusion and feminism have historically been topics at which Sweden has excelled, and they have become increasingly prominent in the urban debate.
A relevant conference, indeed. Cities for all connected the Swedish context with international research and European practice of placemaking. Placemakers from all over Europe gathered to show best practices from their countries.
Each keynote speaker and workshop leader discussed their areas of expertise, but there were two important guiding themes throughout all the talks and sessions.
The first guideline was gentrification and segregation. For placemakers, themes of gentrification and segregation are infrequently our motivation for action. Yet, these two processes are realities that are affecting our work and our cities every day. That is why it is paramount that we make explicit how our actions influence these two processes, and vice-versa.
The second guideline was actionable-knowledge for placemakers. The purpose of this conference was not to dwell on the problems, but to share and develop tools and strategies that will help us to solve these problems. Therefore, we asked speakers to be explicit about the tools and strategies that are related to their topic. It is also our goal to think about how placemaking can help to tackle these issues, and work in ensuring that urban areas are places for everyone.
"Cities for All" has been organized as a collaboration between STIPO, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Future of Places Research Network, the City at Eye Level and Tertius. The conference is made possible because of the contribution of our dozens of active partners from the European Placemaking Network.