Since 2017, the educational initiative of Placemaking is offered at a growing number of faculties at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) as an interdisciplinary elective. Students analyze actual problems in relation to their social and physical contexts including its users by using design thinking philosophy. They then enter into discussions with their client, local residents and businesses, policy makers, government and organizations to use their academic knowledge to improve the problem area together. With Placemaking, UvA lecturers and students contribute to a sustainable relationship between the university, the city and society, tackling - often complex - issues that exist among local users and organizations, developing soft skills that matter to realize change.
Students work transdisciplinary with a client on a social place-based challenge, where participation, design principles, ecological principles and administrative-legal frameworks form starting points for analysis and transformation. Based on research, students initiate - in co-creation with key stakeholders - an on-site intervention, exploring how it can contribute to improving the problem area. Placemaking has an estafette element, so that students can build on knowledge and insights from the previous group. Meanwhle, over 300 students have participated in the Placemaking courses.*
*From the online article by Katusha Sol and Rosanne van Wieringen (2022),
Placemaking Courses at the University of Amsterdam
Check the UvA Course Catalogue to find out which Placemaking courses are offered. The courses are organised around the various university campuses, including Science Park, Roeterseiland Campus and the University Quarter. This way, participating students not only learn about the place where they study, but they also contribute to it.