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Participatory placemaking: concepts, methods and practices

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Place Management and Development

Overview of the Theme

Placemaking – “the set of social, political and material processes by which people iteratively create and recreate the experienced geographies in which they live” (Pierce et al 2011: 54) – is often understood as a participatory, community-focused approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces (Friedmann 2010; Healey 1998). However, all of these interconnected concepts are arguably open to various interpretations, and some are highly contested and political (Dyck 2005; Lepofsky and Fraser 2003; Martin 2003; Mason and Whitehead 2012). This raises fundamental questions regarding those elements that might constitute placemaking. For example:

What is our understanding of community? How do we deal with the unequal distribution of resources between communities, but also among members of the same perceived community? If we understand citizenship as a set of rights in the public sphere, who has such rights and who can (and who cannot) practise them? Who is included and who is excluded from a ‘right to the city’? What level of participation is desired and feasible in placemaking activity? How do we steer a successful path between genuine consultation and top-down management led decision-making in placemaking effort? Does placemaking activity produce winners and losers, and how do we deal with that? Are there ideal ways or best practices for organizing participation in placemaking, and are there approaches that should be avoided?

Adressing the above questions need not necessarily be a mere intellectual exercise. It may sit at the heart of identifying guiding principles for placemaking practice. Indeed, tackling some these questions could help inform practitioners in their day-to-day work and efforts to make places better. This planned special issue therefore wishes to contribute to our understanding of placemaking, not by reducing its inherent complexity, but by critically throwing light on relevant concepts, challenges and possible solutions.


  • Dyck, I., (2005), “Feminist geography, the ‘everyday’, and local–global relations: hidden spaces of place‐making”, The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien, Vol. 49, No. 3, pp. 233-243.
  • Friedmann, J., (2010), “Place and place-making in cities: a global perspective”, Planning Theory & Practice, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp.149-165.
  • Healey, P. (1998), “Collaborative planning in a stakeholder society”, Town planning review, Vol. 69, No. 1, pp. 1-22.
  • Lepofsky, J. and Fraser, J.C., (2003), “Building community citizens: Claiming the right to place-making in the city”, Urban studies, Vol. 40, No. 1, pp.127-142.
  • Martin, D. G. (2003), “’Place-framing’ as place-making: constituting a neighborhood for organizing and activism”, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 93, No. 3, pp. 730-750.
  • Mason, K. and Whitehead, M. (2012), “Transition urbanism and the contested politics of ethical place making”, Antipode, Vol. 44, No. 2, pp.493-516.
  • Pierce, J., Martin, D.G. and Murphy, J.T., (2011), “Relational place‐making: the networked politics of place”, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Vol. 36, No. 1, pp.54-70.



Full academic papers may address the subthemes listed below, but do not necessarily have to be limited to these:

Conceptual issues

  • community
  • inclusion/exclusion
  • citizenship (incl. gender/sexual citizenship)
  • “right to the city”
  • everyday practices
  • the public sphere
  • geographical scales

Fields of practice

  • town-centre management
  • BIDs
  • community development
  • commons/urban commons
  • urban social movements
  • participatory budgeting
  • responsible tourism

We would also welcome case studies which consider the following in relation to specific examples of placemaking activity:

  • evaluation/assessment
  • best practices/challenges
  • real-life experiences


Please send a 250-word abstract to the guest editor, Ares Kalandides ([email protected]) by 15th August 2016. Notifications of original acceptance will be sent out by 31st August 2016 (please note that a submission can still be rejected in the reviewing process).
Completed papers of between 4,000-6,000 words in length should be submitted via the Journal of Place Management and Development online submission site no later than May 31st, 2017:
Please select the correct special issue from the dropdown menu.

Abstract submission: 15th August 2016
Notification of original acceptance: 31st August 2016
Full paper submission: May 2017
Revised paper submissions: November 2017
Expected formal publication date: Summer 2018

Submissions should follow JPMD author guidelines at

Guest Editor

Dr Ares Kalandides
Institute of Place Management | Director
Manchester Metropolitan University ¦ Faculty of Business and Law
All Saints Campus ¦ Oxford Road ¦ Manchester ¦ M15 6BH

[email protected]