Handbook: Placemaking in the Nordics, 2020

How do you turn a place from somewhere you can’t wait to go through – to somewhere you never want to leave? How can we co-create safe and attractive public spaces in the Nordic region? This is what placemaking is all about.



“First we shape cities – then they shape us.” – Jan Gehl 

In a context of rapid urbanisation, where the need for creating sustainable and fair cities is at stake, addressing public spaces is fundamental. It entails producing quality public spaces that will ensure safe and enjoyable experiences for inhabitants in increasingly dense urban environments, protecting natural resources and building resilient cities, and finally, ensuring equal right to public urban amenities. 


The Nordic connection   

There are many conditions that challenge the quality of public spaces in the Nordics today, as well as challenges for working with them. In addition to the cold and dark climate, a decreasing feeling of safety, mono-functional spaces, increasing segregation, and a loss of attractiveness of city-centres are just some of the struggles in the Nordics today. 


Placemaking in the Nordics – a co-creation and innovation project

To understand how placemaking could be applied in the Nordics, we launched the ‘Placemaking in the Nordics’ project. 

A co-creation project initiated by Future Place Leadership, LINK arkitektur, and Stiftelsen Tryggare Sverige, we together with a total of 70 participants representing 18 municipalities, regions, property owners, construction companies and associations across the Nordics explored challenges, success factor, ongoing placemaking projects and best practices, and systematically compiled a toolkit, and guidelines for Nordic cities and regions. 

This handbook is a practical guide with the objective to help placemakers get started, mobilise, and manage efforts in the longer term. It presents insights, experiences, and methods uncovered during the Placemaking in the Nordics project. 

It is meant to empower cities, communities and local actors to create more attractive and safer public spaces – to the benefit of citizens, companies, the local economy and tourists. 


Join the movement 

For us, this handbook is also an invitation to continue the conversation with everyone interested in working and improving public spaces. We hope the collaboration initiated during the project will prosper and spread, so we can collectively continue to share knowledge and lead reflection about Nordic public spaces.


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