Welcome to the Future of Places Research Network

The Future of Places is a collaborative platform for research, implementation, networking and advocacy, centered on key issues of public space as a fundamental component of sustainable urban development. The four-year forum has brought together over 1,500 researchers, practitioners, officials and activists, representing more than 700 organizations, 275 cities and 100 countries from all around the world.

The Future of Places Research Network represents the next evolution of the project, with a global collaboration between researchers and implementers of the “New Urban Agenda,” and most importantly, its focus on public space.

We have our main hub at the Centre for the Future of Places, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, and a growing research network of collaborators around the world.

 

The Future of Places forum: 71 speakers, 96 sessions, 77 academic papers, focusing on urban development, placemaking and the urban challenges ahead.

The forum brought together over 1,500 researchers, practitioners, officials and activists, representing more than 700 organizations, 275 cities and 100 countries from all around the world.  The 2015 conference was also the first Urban Thinkers Campus leading up to the Habitat III conference and the New Urban Agenda.

The challenge of implementation…

In December 2016, the New Urban Agenda was ratified by all the nations of the UN General Assembly.  This watershed document contains important language about compact and resource efficient urban form, about social capital and capacity development, about polycentric governance, participation and subsidiarity, and about the importance of public space.

The New Urban Agenda contains nine paragraphs that deal with the key role of public spaces as “drivers of social and economic development,” “enhancing safety and security, favoring social and inter-generational interaction and the appreciation of diversity” as well as “promoting walkability and cycling towards improving health and well- being.”

The Future of Places Research network will ask key questions about implementing the New urban Agenda, and it will disseminate solutions as they are identified. What are the benefits of public space systems, including benefits for different sectors of society, notably disadvantaged populations? What are the consequences of their loss, through privatization, or through inadequate planning of both quantity and quality? What are the strategies and mechanisms by which public space systems can be improved? Who are the actors that can bring about positive change, from public, private and civil sectors? What are the next steps in implementing this part of the New Urban Agenda?