Graduate School of Social Sciences

Placemaking in the City

Cities and the lives of inhabitants are intrinsically connected: both give meaning to and form one another. As citizens and visitors of cities move through urban spaces, how are their actions and reactions molded by their encounters with the urban environment? How does the methodology of placemaking play a role in understanding the connections and tensions between people and space?

Programme at a glance

Academic dates: 7 July - 25 July 2019
Housing dates: 6 July - 26 July 2019
Academic fee: € 1575
Housing fee: € 500 and € 75 deposit. For more information, see Housing and practical matters.
Credits: 6 European Credits
Who is this programme for? For current university students (Bachelors and Masters) in the arts and social sciences with an interest in placemaking and urban studies. For young working professionals with a desire to continue their education in this field.
Academic director: Iris van Huis
Early application deadline: 10 January 2019
Regular application deadline: 1 April 2019


Programme description

This three-week interdisciplinary course unravels the practice, theory, policies and politics of ‘placemaking,' taking Amsterdam as a site for analysis and action. Placemaking is more than a method; it is a philosophy for the development and experience of cities, combining disciplines such as sociology, environmental psychology, (micro)political science, architecture and urban design. Situating placemaking in a mixed academic context, this course focuses on topics such as public space, community, diversity and 'the right to the city'. Gain new insights into the fundamental choices and challenges involved in shaping the city. See how policy and design intentions play out in various Amsterdam neighborhoods and communities. And finally, develop a practical skill set by proposing a placemaking strategy for a selected site. TThis year, this programme will focus on newcomers' integration into the physical, social, and psychological fabric of the city.

The three-week programme will consist of (guest) lectures, workshops and excursions within and outside of Amsterdam. In parallel ethnographic research sessions, students work in interdisciplinary groups researching and developing a placemaking strategy for a selected site/community.

A core component of this programmeare the research and development sessions, which will form the basis of the work for the final presentation in Amsterdam. Across the three weeks, students develop their practical skills involved in a placemaking process. From start to finish, these include research skills such as observation, mapping, interviewing, stakeholder analysis, and visual/tangible presentation methods related to the final project. The interdisciplinary groups spend various morning and afternoon sessions conducting interviews, researching, and developing their placemaking strategy both on and off site.

Study load

The programme schedule from Monday-Thursday includes:

  • Morning lecture(s) and excursions (2.5 hours)
  • Lunch break (1 hour; provided by the University)  
  • RapidLab afternoons with workshops and field work (2.5 hours)

Credit Transfer

As a Summer Institute student you receive a participation certificate with an official seal from the Universiteit van Amsterdam.

Students who wish to earn credits receive an official transcript stating the courses taken, credits earned and grades obtained. The programme is the equivalent of a 6 European Credits (or 3 American credits) module. Students are responsible for ensuring that their home university will accept the credits and final credit conversions need to be made by the home university. If you have questions about credit transfer, or need more information on the programme for your home university's administration, please email us at

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6 ECTS, 3 weeks
Language of instruction
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Published by  GSSS Summer Programmes Office