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Why do we feel better in some European cities than in others?

Walking through a city allows us to discover hidden cafes, picturesque parks, historic landmarks, and vibrant streets full of life. Walking lets us perceive the atmosphere of the city, its sounds, smells, and energy, which is often impossible to experience from the comfort of a car. These places create a sense of community and offer a refuge where we can slow down, relax, and connect with the local culture. This is why walking tours are often the most authentic and enjoyable way to explore new places.

Such places were the focus of the workshop of the international network Cities in Placemaking, which was held this time in Trenčín. As members of the Cities in Placemaking network, we had the opportunity to invite several experts in urbanism and architecture. The workshop took place at KKC Hviezda and its main theme was placemaking.

Foto: Maria Blau

Placemaking is an approach to planning, designing, and managing public spaces that focuses on people using the spaces rather than physical structures or buildings. This approach creates places that people use regularly, that offer diverse activities, that improve the quality of life, and where people generally feel good. The goal of placemaking is to create places (not just spaces) to which we form a connection and transform them together.

We discussed the cities we work in, which often face similar challenges, even if it may not seem so at first glance. We shared ideas for improvements in communities and locations that have untapped potential, especially how to make them more pleasant for people to explore and spend time in.

We didn't just talk, though. We showed our distinguished visitors around Trenčín and presented projects that will be realized there. Additionally, we visited Partizánske, where we had the unique opportunity to view the upcoming Fabrika 61 project, prepared by the OZ Fabrika umenia team. This project will serve as a cultural space in the otherwise unused area of the former Baťa factory, making an unattractive space accessible to the city's residents.

Foto: Maria Blau

At the end of the several-day workshop, a meeting called Stories of Placemaking was held, to which the general public was also invited. This event offered a unique opportunity for both workshop participants and local residents to learn more about various aspects of placemaking. The meeting featured various lectures, discussions, and presentations that highlighted successful stories and inspiring projects in urbanism and architecture.

Foto: Maria Blau

We concluded a whole week of knowledge and theoretical demonstrations with a practical event - Korzo Palackého. For one day, we closed a beautiful street in the city center, which otherwise has untapped potential, to cars and turned it into a pleasant place for relaxation, fun, meetings, and culture. At least for one day, we could demonstrate how great it is to make cities with beautiful places. 



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