From the 1st to the 6th of October 2023, the picturesque city of Palermo, Italy, played host to a remarkable training course as part of the ambitious Placemaking For Inclusion project, commonly referred to as PM4I. PM4I, which stands for “Placemaking For Inclusion,” is a comprehensive initiative aimed at empowering youth work providers and youth organizations to foster social inclusion and active citizenship among young people from diverse backgrounds. The driving force behind this project is the notion that, by utilizing placemaking methodologies and practices, young individuals can collectively reshape their local communities. This blog post delves into the objectives, outcomes, and impact of this inspiring training course.
Empowering Youth for Inclusion: The PM4I Project Objectives
The overarching goal of the PM4I project is to revive active citizenship for reshaping societies by empowering young people to play an active role in their communities. To achieve this, the project has outlined several key objectives:
- Develop PM4I Competences Framework: The project aims to create a comprehensive competences framework that equips youth workers and educators with the necessary tools to guide young people through the placemaking process.
- Co-create New and Innovative Tools: PM4I encourages collaboration among partners to develop innovative tools, approaches, and methods for youth engagement in placemaking activities.
- Strengthen Youth Organizations: By enhancing the capacity of youth organizations, PM4I seeks to create a strong network of support for young individuals who are actively involved in shaping their communities.
- Maximize Impact: The project strives to maximize its impact by disseminating knowledge, resources, and best practices related to placemaking and inclusion.
The Significance of Placemaking
Placemaking has become an influential practice across various fields. It often involves creative and collaborative responses to local issues, aiming to improve the well-being of communities. This approach aligns seamlessly with the goals of youth work and non-formal education, particularly when working with young people who may have fewer opportunities. PM4I recognizes the potential of placemaking in engaging and empowering young individuals, making it an integral part of their initiative.
Photos of the learning process by Marina Bykova.
Training Course in Palermo 🇮🇹 – Place Make it!
The training course brought together a diverse group of participants, including youth workers, educators, placemaking and urban design practitioners, and youth activists from Norway, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, and Italy. These individuals gathered in Palermo to explore and share the results of the PM4I project.
Competence Framework Wheel. Developed by PM4I consortium.
Key Project Results Presented at the Training Course:
- Comparative National Report of “Placemaking for Inclusion” Framework: The project partners presented a comprehensive report based on preliminary conversations, focus groups, surveys, key informant interviews, and exemplary practices. This report provides valuable insights into placemaking for inclusion. You can access the report on the project website: http://placemaking.4learning.eu/outputs/
- Local Youth Placemaking Ambassadors Group: Each partner country presented urban interventions initiated by young people and the tools they used, showcasing the impact of placemaking within local communities.
- Placemaking Cookbook for Youth: This publication contains a treasure trove of tools designed to enable young individuals to experience and practice placemaking within their localities.
- PM4I Competence Framework & Open Badges Assessment Tool: The competence framework, a product of extensive research by project partners, comprises 14 competencies, including “Internal Communication” and “Including Art and Culture.” These competencies empower educators and youth workers to guide young people in the placemaking process. The Open Badges Ecosystem serves as a validation tool for acquired skills and competencies, as well as a monitoring system for learners’ progress.
- PM4I Augmented Reality App: The partner from Greece, AKNOW, demonstrated the PM4I AR app, which promises to revolutionize the placemaking experience. This innovative app provides a step-by-step guide to enhance engagement and participation in placemaking projects.
Photos of the participants by Marina Bykova.
Inspirational Study Visits
Beyond the collaborative sessions and discussions at the PM4I training course in Palermo, participants had the unique opportunity to embark on study visits that allowed them to witness firsthand the transformative power of placemaking in action. These visits served as a vital aspect of the training program, enabling participants to gain a deeper understanding of the impact and challenges of community-led placemaking initiatives.
Visit to Ballarò Neighborhood
The tour of the Ballarò neighborhood provided participants with an immersive experience of how placemaking practices have been effectively employed by local inhabitants, associations, and institutions. Each stop along the tour featured a local inhabitant or stakeholder who shared the story of the place, its evolution over time, and the ongoing challenges it faces. The participants were encouraged to reflect and engage in discussions about what they observed and learned.
- Piazzetta Ballarò: Here, a representative of the association Moltivolti shared the journey of transformation that the square has undergone, from private property to a vibrant public space.
- Piazza Casa Professa: The association Arci Porco Rosso provided insight into their work within the neighborhood, focusing on supporting migrant populations and combatting school dropouts in the area.
Visiting the association Arci Porco Rosso and talking to their member. Photo by Marina Bykova.
Field Visit to Cantieri Culturali alla Zisa
The visit to Cantieri Culturali alla Zisa began at Crezi Plus and featured three key stops. Participants had the privilege of hearing first-hand accounts of how this area has transitioned from industrial spaces to cultural centers.
- Crezi Plus: Luisa, representing the organization Crezi Plus, discussed how they successfully transformed an old factory into a cultural center, open to the public, and shared the story of their remarkable journey.
- Cantieri Culturali: Led by a representative of Sguardi Urbani, this segment of the visit explored the extensive history behind the transformation of Cantieri Culturali, from a furniture factory to a vibrant cultural citadel.
- Casa di tutte le genti: A representative from the association Casa di tutte le genti detailed their work within the neighborhood, particularly their efforts to support both migrant and non-migrant families living in Zisa through a kindergarten service.
Visit to Casa di tutte le genti. Photos by Marina Bykova.
Local Field Visit to Kalsa District
The tour of the Kalsa district commenced at Piazza Sant’Anna and encompassed various stops, each offering unique insights into placemaking and inclusion efforts in the area.
- Via dello Spasimo: The local ambassadors from Palermo shared the story behind the striking murals along the street and their endeavors to revitalize an abandoned square as part of their awareness-raising campaign.
- Booq: A representative of the association Booq discussed the history of their neighborhood library and the vital services it provides to local families.
- Neu Nòi – Spazio al Lavoro: A representative from the association Neu Nòi provided an overview of their coworking space, its mission, and the diverse cultural and social activities it organizes within the neighborhood.
These immersive visits allowed participants to gain valuable insights into the dynamics of placemaking and inclusion within the neighborhood. Through these first-hand experiences, they developed critical thinking about the processes involved and a deeper understanding of the challenges and potential outcomes associated with these community-driven initiatives. The study visits illuminated the real-world impact of placemaking and served as a source of inspiration for all involved in the PM4I project.
Study visit to the co-working spae of Spazio al Lavoro. Photos by Marina Bykova.
Fostering Creativity and Innovation
Throughout the PM4I training course in Palermo, participants not only reviewed existing outputs and discussed ways to enhance them but also actively engaged in the process of piloting placemaking tools designed for young individuals, as featured in the Placemaking Cookbook for Youth. This hands-on approach allowed participants to contribute to the evolution of these tools, making them more effective and relevant in the context of youth engagement and community development.
In subsequent sessions, participants delved into collaborative discussions aimed at identifying ways to improve the tools, anticipating potential challenges that might arise during their implementation, and brainstorming strategies to maximize their impact. This dynamic exchange of ideas fostered an environment of continuous improvement and innovation, emphasizing the project’s commitment to adapt and grow as it progresses.
A collage of pictures #1. Created by Marina Bykova.
On the fourth day of the training course, participants were given a unique opportunity to let their creative energies flow freely as they embarked on an exciting journey to design new placemaking tools, intervention methods, and formats. Divided into four groups, participants immersed themselves in a collective brainstorming process, challenging one another to think outside the box and explore fresh, imaginative solutions.
The outcome of this creative exercise was nothing short of inspiring. Each group presented their innovative ideas to project partners and the engaged audience. These ideas, which emerged from the profound insights and imaginative thinking of the participants, are set to be added to the ever-expanding Placemaking Cookbook for Youth.
A collage of pictures #2. Created by Marina Bykova.
This initiative represents a vital aspect of PM4I’s mission: not only to empower youth and enhance their ability to shape their communities but also to encourage participants to take an active role in developing the very tools that will drive this transformation. By encouraging open dialogue, collaboration, and creative thinking, PM4I fosters a culture of continuous improvement and innovation that can be harnessed to address the unique challenges and opportunities of each local community.
The PM4I training course in Palermo is a testament to the project’s commitment to enabling youth workers, educators, and community leaders to create and adapt tools that resonate with their unique contexts, fostering inclusion, creativity, and active citizenship among young people. In the spirit of PM4I, the project partners and participants look forward to building on these successes and continuing to expand the Placemaking Cookbook for Youth, ensuring it remains a dynamic and invaluable resource for youth-led community development initiatives worldwide.
A collage of pictures #3. Created by Marina Bykova.
The PM4I training course in Palermo served as a pivotal event, bringing together passionate individuals from diverse backgrounds to share knowledge, experiences, and resources related to placemaking for inclusion. The project’s objectives, outcomes, and the dedication of its partners highlight the importance of empowering young people to play an active role in shaping their communities. As PM4I continues to make strides in the realm of placemaking, it is evident that the seeds of positive change have been sown, and the legacy of this project will continue to flourish in the years to come.
The PM4I project was co-funded through the European Education and Culture Executive Agency by the European Union (ERASMUS-YOUTH-2021-PCOOP-ENGO).