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Social networks and placemaking

A+DS Head of Urbanism Diarmaid Lawlor writes on the concept of ‘Open Source Placemaking’

Places are about exchange. The most successful places enable a variety of exchanges, social, cultural, economic. Traditionally, the public space of the street, the block, the district and the city enabled these exchanges through the physical structure of the place. Making and re-making the city in this context was, and continues to be about physical regeneration.

However, in contemporary society, there are a variety of media to enable the exchanges that characterise successful places. There are a variety of actors who do the exchanging to enable economic ecologies in virtual and physical spaces. The economic downturn has presented places, of all kinds, with a series of challenges. These challenges include the delivery of public services, the management of place assets, delivering policy to achieve outcomes, and the management of public finance. There is much talk of efficiencies, cuts and the need to rethink how the actors that participate in places take individual and collective responsibility to enable a place where all can flourish.