The Journal of Place Management and Development (JPMD) is pleased to invite papers for a special issue on “Participatory placemaking: concepts, methods and practices”

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?

Addressing 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.