CASE STUDY: The Creative Placemaking Challenge

The Creative Placemaking Challenge from Winnipeg Arts Council on Vimeo.
Urban Idea’s Creative Placemaking Challenge Documentary, a film by Mike Maryniuk

On a sunny Friday in August 2014, ten groups of creative people mounted installations in the alleys of Winnipeg’s West Exchange District as part of Urban Idea’s Creative Placemaking Challenge.

Filmmaker Mike Maryniuk followed them as they were tasked with reinventing an alley for one day. Installations provided passers-by with the opportunity to look at space differently, to engage in a wide variety of activities, and to experience first-hand how embedding creativity and the arts into our neighbourhoods can be transformational for cities.

Thousands of people interacted with the ten installations which captured the imagination and inspired thinking about the endless possibilities of Winnipeg’s underused but architecturally significant spaces.

For more information about the Creative Placemaking Challenge, and the rest of the Year of Urban Ideas, please visit

CASE STUDY: Placemaking and Public Art – Makeover Montgomery 4

Placemaking and Public Art – Makeover Montgomery 4 from M-NCPPC on Vimeo.

Makeover Montgomery 4. Friday, May 11, 2018.

Placemaking and Public Art
This session will focus on integrating public and commemorative art into placemaking and planning processes. Local and federal case studies will be used to explain policy regulations, zoning tools, community engagement methods and partnerships among government agencies, non-profit organizations and private sector developers. A presentation about the Memorials for the Future competition to encourage more inclusive and imaginative commemoration will focus on ways of fostering powerful experiences through public spaces.

CASE STUDY: The Power of the Movable Chair

Extract of a City Lab article on the Power of the Moveable Chair

“…In his classic 1980 study of the use of public spaces in New York City, William H. Whyte and his team of researchers used cameras to watch people and understand how they used the public places in the city. One of the takeaways from the film footage was that people like to sit in public places, and, far more fascinatingly, that if given the option they will almost always move chairs before they sit in them.

In his film, The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, Whyte shows this phenomenon in action.

Whyte, who passed away in 1999, saw this as a crucial aspect of designing good public spaces and parks – especially in a heavily populated area like New York City.”He loved the Battery. He had sat here many times and really understood the dynamic of the people from this area,” says Warrie Price, president of the Battery Conservancy, which she founded about 18 years ago to rebuild the park at the lower tip of Manhattan. She says she remembers Whyte encouraging her to install some movable seating in the park more than 15 years ago. “He said ‘don’t forget: people truly love deciding where they want to sit in a great park. Movable chairs enlarge their choice.'”

It’s this spirit that inspired the Battery’s current design competition, Draw Up a Chair, which invites designers to submit ideas for movable seating. Along with a $10,000 prize, the winning chair design will be fabricated and installed throughout the Battery in 2014 after the completion of a renovation.Movable chairs, though, mean the chairs can indeed be moved – sometimes out of a park and, for example, into someone’s apartment or backyard.

“In municipalities there’s the sense that if it’s not bolted down, it will move beyond the park landscape. Well, we see all over the city those little foldup chairs and they’re not bolted down, they’re not even chained,” Price says, referring to the chairs added to pedestrianized plazas and street corners in Manhattan, such as Times Square. “They’re on all the intersections throughout the whole Manhattan landscape right now and they don’t seem to be walking away.”

“I just refuse to let [the possibility of theft] be the guiding force to deter us from trying,” she says, adding that RFID chips will be installed in the furniture to help prevent theft, or at least track wayward chairs down when they’re moved too far away.

“And so far, designers seem to support the idea. The deadline for submissions is at the end of the month, but Price says she’s already received submissions from all over the Western hemisphere.

Price says the idea behind the competition is both to create an opportunity for designers to see their work actually built and installed in a real-world setting, but also to encourage other cities to think about better ways to serve their populations through good design in public spaces…”