Conference: Great Places, Great Cities

A forum for civic leaders who are shaping the future

Three day conference & worksessions – invitation

Public spaces are vital parts of every community. Creating great public spaces that benefit our cities and foster security, lively-hood and a sense of belonging is the challenge faced by civic leaders everywhere.

This conference brings together leading experts from around the world who are challenging the current paradigm in city planning in order to create better places for people both now and in the future.  

For 3 days of interactive sessions and plenary lectures, participants can learn how to effect change through ‘placemaking’, discuss approaches with leading experts who are pushing the boundaries in urban design, transportation, community development and city renewal and hear real-life stories and experiences from change leaders in the field.

In order to optimise the international exchange of knowledge and experience on public space, we want to set up the ‘European Centre on Public Space’. ECPS is a non-profit organisation in establishment. We gradually create a sustainable collaboration between different European organisations that are dealing with Public Space. We hope this conference will set the stage for new collaborations and partnerships between placemakers in Western and Eastern Europe .

The conference will take place in Brussels (Belgium), the capital of Europe that contains a wealth of great public spaces serving a variety of communities and cultures. 

Conference highlights

Round Tables. Interactive sessions, skill-building workshops, and dynamic keynote presentations from leading experts – Maarten Wijk, Deryck Irving, to name a few – in creating better places for people both now and in the future.

CarFreeDay-Tour. Exploring this event of a car free day, led by community-based organizations in Brussels – a city that contains the wealth of great public spaces.

Networking. Opportunities to interact and exchange ideas with around 100 civic leaders and   community development professionals from across Europe.

Worksessions. These half day sessions will foster an understanding of what makes public spaces function as well as innovative methods for analyzing places.

Who should attend

The conference will be of interest to civic leaders, policy makers, community development professionals, community liaison officers, designers and planners, regeneration professionals, architects and landscape architects and all other practitioners who are currently working with, or have an interest in, public spaces and the associated accessibility and inclusion agenda. 

Conference Programme (subject to change)

Sunday, 23 September 2007

12.00 – 13.00      Registration participants in Auditorium Sint Lucas Departement Architecture  

Opening and welcome by European Centre on Public Space
13.00 – 13.15  

Opening of the conference by minister Pascal Smet, Brussels Government of Mobility and Public Space
13.15 – 14.00

CarFreeDay-Tour: visits in Brussels guided by Jens Aerts, adviser of minister Pascal Smet
14.15 – 16.45
2006 was the fifth consecutive year in which the Car Free Day was organized. The general outcome of this operation has been very positive for its organizers as well as for the communities, the Brussels public transport company and the neighbourhood committees. Once again the public showed up in large numbers to enjoy all the activities offered in the Region of Brussels-Capital. Tourists and foreign media are also growing increasingly enthusiastic for this event. The purpose to be strived for is sustaining the integration of the ‘car free’ reflex into propitious and festive events (markets, rummage sales, fairs), to conceive ‘car free moments’ in some neighbourhoods and to generalize the principle of reclaiming residential streets as play space for children. During this tour we will visit places of interest.

Presentation of conclusions from experts on the Ijzerplein, Brussels.
16.45 – 17.45
In juli ECPS organised an expert meeting where 5 international experts from different disciplines in Europe were invited to evaluate the Ijzerplein, an important square in Brussels, together with experts from Brussels. The Ijzersquare seemed to be very suitable for an evaluation and possible treatment in a short period of time due to its situation: in the direct area of the square there are houses, a theatre, an entrance to a park, but also a tram and metro-junction and a lot of car traffic. All is very badly adapted to each other and improvement of the public space is very much needed. The surroundings of the Ijzersquare has chances and possibilities for a qualitative better public space. The experts now present their conclusions.

Closing of the day
17.45 – 18.00

Monday, 24 September 2007

08.30 – 09.00      Registration late participants

09.00 – 09.30      Welcome by European Centre on Public Space by Gerrit Jan van ‘t Veen

Round Table 1: lecture with social approach by expert from German institute
09.30 – 10.45
In concept.

10.45 – 11.15      Break

Round table 2: lecture with city development approach by expert
11.15 – 12.30
in concept

12.30 – 13.30      Lunch
During the lunch we present an information market from organisations who are working with public spaces.

Round table 3: lecture with political approach by expert
13.30 – 14.45
in concept

14.45 – 15.15      Break
Closing of the conference day: ‘Great Public Spaces for the Future’
15.15 – 16.15
An open session for you to give feedback and ideas about future directions and partnerships to carry on the lessons learned at the conference.  

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

09:00 – 10:00      Opening of the day

Great Places worksession 1
10.00 – 12.00
Worksession 1 in groups to the Ijzersquare under guidance of Public Space experts from different disciplines. This worksession will give participants an understanding of what makes public spaces function as well as innovative methods for analyzing places.

12.00 – 13.30      Lunch

Great Places worksession 2
13.30 – 15.30
Deepening of the understanding in the worksession in groups to the Ijzersquare under guidance of Public Space experts from different disciples.

Conference closing session: Plenairy presentations of the worksessions
16.00 – 17.00
The participants present their conclusions of the Ijzersquare and share their knowledge on public spaces.

17.00 –  18.30     Celebrating the opening of the community website


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