In the world of urban development, the term “placemaking” has become increasingly popular in recent years. A positive development in itself, but the term has branched out in different directions. Developers and property owners often associated it with temporary initiatives and events, which usually have to leave as soon as the planned development, mostly housing, starts. This is inconsistent with the original definition of placemaking, which focuses on collaboration between all stakeholders, a decisive voice for the local community and long-term results.
In 2020, we therefore introduced the concept of ‘Placetesting’ as an innovative approach to urban development. Placetesting allows for temporary initiatives, but with a clear focus on lasting improvements. It is synonymous with ‘organic development’ and ‘urban prototyping’.
What is Placetesting?
Placetesting is the art of providing temporary space for entrepreneurs, residents, social and cultural organisations, and even the government, to test innovative concepts, initiatives and functions. Think of cultural events, sports activities, hospitality concepts, mobility solutions, interventions in public space and much more. So does placetesting mean trying out everything at random? No, it does not. A clear long-term vision serves as a compass. What significance should a place have in 5 to 10 years’ time? The core values of the place also play an important part in this. Only initiatives that fit the future vision and core values are eligible. Plus, testing is always done with the intention of all parties involved to give the initiative a permanent place in case of success. What does well is going to stay. This approach is similar to prototyping from the successful lean startup method widely used in the startup world.
Five advantages of Placetesting
- You can start asap: Instead of waiting endlessly for approval on final plans, promising ideas can start immediately.
- Collaboration based on action: Placetesting brings property owners, entrepreneurs and the government together on very concrete area challenges, moving from merely talking to executing.
- Participation and co-creation in optimal form: Placetesting goes beyond asking for feedback; it actively involves people in creating their ideal living environment.
- Risk-free innovation: Making mistakes is allowed, without major financial consequences.
- ‘Branding by doing’: Placetesting instantly creates a buzz and engagement in the community. You get an area marketing campaign for free.
Image : LOLA Landscape
Time for taking action!
At a time when building costs are rising, nitrogen standards are tightening and construction projects are stagnating, Placetesting offers a fresh, organic approach to urban development. It maintains the resulting energy in an area and keeps a project in motion. It is a golden opportunity for renewal, collaboration and testing innovative ideas.
Ready to shape the future? Discover the power of Placetesting and enquire about the mini-masterclass on Placetesting for your team.