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Welcome to the BSA’s Placemaking Network! We are dedicated to interdisciplinary dialogue and education about an integrated public realm. Programs include monthly seminars and project-based initiatives on the subject of Placemaking. Presentations by noted speakers and discussions focus on what makes public spaces successful. We examine how architects, landscape designers, urban planners, artists and public officials work together to create great public places, to turn space into place.

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Committee Co-chairs
Christina Lanzl PhD /
Robert Tullis AIA / 

The Placemaking Network is part of the Urban Design Commission.

Upcoming Events

March 26, 2018 | 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Placemaking in Action: Hints for Success in a Controversial Community Meeting At our March 26, 6pm seminar Joanne Alinsky Linowes, Principal of the...
April 23, 2018 | 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Eye-Tracking Architecture: Insights from Biometrics on Walkability, Lingerability, Human Happiness

Ann Sussman AIA, an architect, author and researcher, will introduce participants to her ongoing research on how buildings influence people emotionally. Biometric tools, like eye tracking, which follows eye movements we don't consciously control, are widely used in advertising and product design today. What happens when we apply the technology to architecture? This talk reviews findings from recent pilot-studies showing how people look at architecture, revealing hidden behaviors that are key to successful placemaking. We will see how 'fixations' or attachments our eyes make without conscious effort direct our behavior around buildings, even influencing our mood and anxiety levels. 

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Join us on May 21 at 6pm as we shine a spotlight on Beyond Walls, a placemaking project turned nonprofit. Originally, a...
On April 23 at 6pm, architect, author and researcher Ann Sussman AIA will talk about her ongoing research on how...
At our March 26, 6pm seminar Joanne Alinsky Linowes, Principal of the Linowes Executive Development Institute, will...
The Placemaking Manifesto is now part of the ongoing placemaking dialogue in the press. Read our Letter to the Editor...
Join us on Febuary 26 at 6pm at BSA Space: Gediminas Urbonas of the MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology,...
Much placemaking activity currently occurs in gentrifying neighborhoods and there is great debate about whether these...
Placemaking is about sense of place. Everybody – people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities – can participate...
The Charles River Conservancy has been advocating for more active, attractive and accessible parklands along the Charles...

Past Events

February 26, 2018 | 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Public Space? Lost and Found

In 2014, Gediminas Urbonas chaired an MIT symposium entitled Public Space? Lost and Found and recently co-edited a book of the same title (SA+P Press; MIT Press, 2017). Both symposium and book brought together artists, planners, theorists, and art historians in an examination of the complex interrelations between the creation and uses of public space and the roles that public art plays therein. Urbonas will speak about the definitions of public space and the tools, tactics, and consequences of reclaiming it through architecture and art. He will cite projects that challenge or support ideas of cultural identity, documenting and analyzing public spaces from several locations and cultures in recent history.

Gediminas Urbonas is an artist, educator and co-founder (with Nomeda Urbonas) of Urbonas Studio, an interdisciplinary research practice that facilitates exchange amongst diverse nodes of knowledge production and artistic practice in pursuit of projects that transform civic spaces and collective imaginaries. In collaboration with experts from different cultural and professional fields, these projects develop practice-based research models, merging a variety of materials and techniques from new media, urbanism, social science and ecology.
Urbonas’ work has been exhibited at the São Paulo, Berlin, Moscow, Lyon, and Gwangju Biennales; at the Manifesta and Documenta exhibitions; and in solo shows at the Venice Biennale and the MACBA in Barcelona. Nomeda and Gediminas have been awarded a number of grants and awards, including the Lithuanian National Prize (2007), the honorable mention for the Lithuanian national pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2007), Best International Artist at the Gwangju Biennale (2006). They were also nominated for the 2012 Nam June Paik Award. Gediminas is Associate Professor and Director of the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology in the School of Architecture and Planning.

For those who qualify, 1.5 LUs are available.

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January 29, 2018 | 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Community Placekeeping and Preserving Neighborhood Identity

Much placemaking activity currently occurs in gentrifying neighborhoods and there is great debate about whether these placemaking efforts alleviate or exacerbate gentrifying forces. Much of this has to do with who is leading the placemaking efforts, and who the target audience is. 

The Asian Community Development Corporation’s placemaking efforts have really been much more about “placekeeping”—maintaining the identity and boundaries of Chinatown. ACDC Executive Director Angie Liou will share her insights and discuss ACDC’s approach, particularly how youth and residents lead the efforts.

For those who qualify, 1.5 LU/HSWs are available.

Go to event page.

November 20, 2017 | 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Placemaking through Sound and Light Join us as Ryan Edwards, Maria Finkelmeier, and Sam Okerstrom-Lang of Masary Studios discuss their practice of re...
October 23, 2017 | 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
The Placemaking Manifesto: A Public Discussion Placemaking is about sense of place. Everybody––people of all backgrounds, ages and...
September 25, 2017 | 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Creating a Place to Swim in the Charles River

The Charles River Conservancy has been advocating for more active, attractive and accessible parklands along the Charles River for years, and this advocacy has included the topic of swimming in the Charles. The Conservancy identified areas of potential swimming facilities and reached out to the skill-based volunteer program at Stantec for help in assessing the feasibility of building a swimming area. This study was an initial step in a new program of community service for Stantec professionals. Stantec’s Boston office piloted a program through which designers and engineers volunteered their professional skills to assist non-profit organizations on community-based projects. 

The panel will discuss the collaboration between Stantec and the Conservancy, aftermath of the feasibility study, current and future plans for the Swimmable Charles project. Panelists: Jennifer Gilbert (Board of Directors, Charles River Conservancy), Audrey Cropp (Stantec Project Coordinator), Thu Ngan Han, Adam Fearing and Kevin Beuttell (Stantec team members)

For those who qualify, 1.5 LU/HSWs are available.

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