Call for Proposals

“We need to turn everything upside-down to get it right-side-up to get from inadequate to extraordinary.” — Fred Kent, PPS

The deadline to submit a proposal has now passed.

Project for Public Spaces (PPS) and partners STIPO, the City at Eye Level, Pakhuis de Zwijger and Placemaking Plus, are pleased to announce that Placemaking Week 2017 will take place on October 11-14, 2017 in Amsterdam. The aim of Placemaking Week 2017 is to bring together activists, practitioners and city makers from all over the world to share the stories, projects, and innovations that are making placemaking one of the most critical movements of the 21st century.

From Mumbai to Seoul to Sydney, we have seen Placemaking become a powerful force shaping cities around the world, providing communities with the capacity to unify, advance and undertake bigger challenges.  It has become a global movement, connecting grassroots efforts with experts and leaders to create systemic change. Give us your big ideas: we want to hear how placemaking can help address local and global challenges. Help us take Placemaking to the next level of impact!

The timing of this conference in Europe could not be better, as so many cities are witnessing an unprecedented resurgence of interest in public space topics and issues—from accessibility and private development, to democracy and equity—and the themes of this conference will reflect these trends. We hope that the creative spirit of this city will generate a narrative that filters through all of the week’s content.

Highlighting issues that are specific to the context of Amsterdam but broadly applicable to cities worldwide, we are now accepting proposals that showcase topics in the following focus areas as a guideline.

(1) Placemaking & Innovation: From isolated campuses to hubs of opportunity

In this new era of innovation, marked by proximity, openness, collaboration, and inequality, how can placemaking help accelerate economic development, incubate new products, services and ideas, and expand economic opportunity for all?

Example topics could include: Placemaking in innovation districts; public spaces as incubators (e.g. Market Cities, Main Streets, arts & culture centers); high-tech-oriented public spaces (e.g. District HallThe Frontier); place-based social and civic innovation; new observation tools for understanding economic and social interactions in public space; creative placemaking and community arts.

(2) Equity, Health & Well-being: From "band-aid" solutions to stopping problems where they start

A person’s postal code can be a more reliable determinant of health than their genetic code. The many factors that determine our physical, mental and social well-being and the forces of multiple inequalities converge in the places we live. How can placemaking holistically improve the quality of life in our communities and ensure that every citizen benefits?

Example topics could include: City making initiatives; public space and local food systems (e.g. food deserts, community gardens and urban farming, public markets); income inequality; homelessness; intersections between public health and placemaking; accessibility and inclusivity in public spaces; the right to the city.

(3) Streets as Places & Transportation: From streets we go through to streets we go to

For too long, the mantra of traffic engineers was “faster and wider.” Today, many cities have rebalanced streets to work better for pedestrians, bikes and transit, but they could still be so much more. How can we remake our streets into a series of multi-use destinations with many ways to move from place to place?

Example topics could include: Main Street development; shared space; walking, biking and active transportation; parking activations; autonomous vehicles and the future of mobility.

(4) Place-led Development & City Making: From one-off projects to systemic change

How can placemakers broaden the impact of their work on communities by engaging the entire machinery of city building—from politicians and city planners to architects and real estate developers to economic development agencies?

Example topics could include: governance reform and citizen engagement; citywide and regional placemaking campaigns and strategies; The City at Eye Level, the human-scale city, and the architecture of place; the role of placemaking and public space in real estate development.

Conference Format and Proposal Guidelines

Proposals may follow the following formats:

Propose a Panel/moderated session - 60-90 minutes. A “fireside chat” format used to spark cross-disciplinary dialogue, and to dig deeply into panelists’ expertise.
Propose a Workshop (On-site) - 60 minutes. These “classroom” style workshops focus on building up practical skills and showcasing strategies and techniques.
Propose a Workshop (Off-site) - 60+ minutes. Individual or team led, these hands-on learning modules generally take place in public spaces outside the main conference center.
Propose a Pecha Kucha Presentation – 7 minutes. A challenging and fun format for those willing to distill their knowledge into 20 slides, at 20 seconds per slide. One presenter per proposal.

You may submit multiple proposals, but no more than two will be selected.

Strong preference will be given to interactive workshops, sessions that include diverse voices, more innovative formats over lecture-style presentations, and off-site workshops that use Amsterdam as a living laboratory.

While space for indoor breakout sessions is limited, there is no upper limit on the number of off-site workshops that will be accepted.

We are also open to a variety of formats for side events that fall outside of the main conference schedule. For example, if you have an idea for a tour, networking event, or a day-long session or event, please email us at to discuss options.

Proposal Submission and Evaluation

The deadline to submit proposals has now passed. The formal deadline was Friday April 28th, at 5:00pm EST.

The application is an online form with a series of questions regarding the session’s content, structure, audience and outcomes. You will not be able to save your application as you work on it, so to prepare in advance for the questions and word counts, you can review them first here.

Alternative Submissions: You may submit a video of up to 3 minutes in length in lieu of answering the evaluative questions. You must still complete the online form, and an abstract and one-sentence summary are still required. Video submissions will be evaluated using the same criteria as written proposals. We will ask you to include a link to your video after your abstract.

Proposals will be evaluated by the Program Review Committee which will include individuals from all participating partner teams, and acceptance will be based on expected attendee experience, presenter expertise and contributions to the field, and a limited number of slots for each focus area. We expect to notify applicants of successful applications by early June.

Please note: If you are selected, you will be provided with a discounted “speaker rate” for registration - price will be provided after the selection process.

For any questions about the Call for Proposals process, please email us at: