Wake Up! Cities: Bridging Placemaking & Youth Work

Cofunded by the European Union as a Small-Scale Partnership in the Field of Youth - Grant Agreement No: KA210-YOU-050D4E7B
Youth Workers & Placemakers Collaborating in our A2 Placemaking Laboratory at Platz*da, Berlin - May 2023

Project Structure:

  • A1: Partner Meetings
  • A2: Methodology Development: Mapping state of the art trends in placemaking applicable to youth work settings
  • A3: Training of Trainers for Urban Scientists at Urban Confest 2023 & Dissemination of Results

Project Partnership: 

  • (Coordinator) (DE) Center for Independent Social Research e.V.
  • (BE) Urban Foxes
  • (CY) CitizensACT
  • (DE) CGE Erfurt e.V.

Project Objectives: 


We looked to enhance cooperation between Urban Science/Placemaking and Youth Work, by integrating urban science methodologies such as placemaking, public participation, and participatory planning into youth work.  

We looked to build a network among partners and associate partners from different fields related to youth work, non-formal education (NfE), and urban science. This was led by the A3 Training of Trainers in Berlin. 

Through A2, we looked to Develop and Disseminate a Transferable Methodology. We documented the methods used in this project, and in our trainings, and shared them in a format that can be used by youth organizations to implement placemaking approaches.  


Project Timeline

13-14.09.22 – Kick-Off Meeting in Berlin

  1. Presentation of Literature Review: Folder
  2. Presentation of Case Study Draft: PDF
  3. Connecting partners, and introducing newcomers to the format of KA2 cooperations. 
  4. Sharing understanding and local/organisational contexts of placemaking and youth work

Visual Identity

Developed by Urban Foxes

24-25.02.23: Advanced Planning Meeting in Berlin 

Visits to stakeholders for A3 Training of Trainers: 

  • Urbana Praxis 
  • Platz*Da (who would go on to host our A3 Training of Trainers) 
  • The Brackland Audiowalk, which would be integrated into our A3 Activity 

Training of Trainers: Berlin, May 2023

We invited youth workers, activists, students, artists, youth policy makers, urban researchers and practitioners to collaborate and to participate in 5 days training laboratory (8th – 12th of  May) combined with participatory part of the preparation for the public event at Platz*Da held on the 13th of May.


In the Framework of the Laboratory we explored potential synergies in terms of focuses and working methods in the field of placemaking and youth work and created space for these to be practically explored during these 5 days. The laboratory focused on an exploratory approach, interdisciplinarity, horizontal interaction and exchange between all participants. The form and content of the participation in public event on the 13th was defined together during the Lab process.


The 5-day Lab included:

  • Discussion of current topics and related texts in the field of participation and placemaking, youth work and pedagogy;
  • Participation in workshops using tools and methodologies to involve youth in the matters of placemaking and place pedagogy. 
  • Visiting good (and not so good) urban interventions & placemaking practices related, and exploration of grassroots initiatives and urban intervention.
  • Performative walks, including psychogeography and a city expedition, and other activities in an urban environment of Berlin;
  • The development, co-creation and exchange of tools, games and methodologies to work with youth and placemaking;
  • Actual placemaking in practice at Platz*Da and 
  • Developing the collective message (output, tool, methodology) presented publicly at Platz*Da

The laboratory was led pedagogically by Urban Foxes team (Brussels) who is specialized in placemaking with youth, workshops, non-formal education lectures & urban interventions in cooperation with CISR e.V. (Berlin), CGE Erfurt e.V. (Erfurt) and CitizensACT (Cyprus).


Profile of participants:

Those who work to empower young people to shape public spaces

  • Youth Workers 
  • Activists 
  • Artists / Creative Sector 
  • Municipal / Policy Makers 
  • Students (in the field of urban studies / related)

Day One: 

In the framework of the Non-Formal Education approach, we established group expectations, co-created elements of the program, and began the process of establishing a group dynamic. 

Guest input from Benjamin Dalle, Minister of Youth for the Flemish Region of Belgium. The prior day the consortium had guided the minister and his team to good practices of collaboration regeneration in Berlin. 

The day focused on bridging our participants, who represented diverse professions and background, and creating a common language and set of expectations for the week. This day was hosted at the CISR e.V. offices in Berlin, and included tours to Haus Der Statistik and Holzmarkt, two case-studies of collaborative regeneration used within this project. 

Day Two: 

Participants toured the Brachland Audiowalk: 

“An audio walk about urban utopias in Weißensee by Katya Romanova Audio walk about urban utopias in Weißensee produced by Katya Romanova

“The gaps are closing. Everything that lay fallow is being built up. We walk past urban wastelands and look at them with a little frustration and regret as temporary places that once were something or will become something. But what happens when we change our perspective and see them as places full of possibilities?”

This tour brought participants in contact with spaces in Berlin being used & reused by the local community, with meaning and use generated from a community/user level, something which connected strongly with the goals of Wake Up! Cities. 


Day Three, Four and Five: 

We spent three days at Platz*da, the testbed space for our Placemaking Lab. The PLATZ*DA! project in Rummelsburg, which is supported by the Youth Democracy Fund, starts in May 2023. The project offers young people the opportunity to get creative in various construction containers and actively shape their leisure spaces. The aim of the project and the young “discipline” of urban practice in general is to promote co-decision-making by citizens and young people in particular in the various dimensions of urban planning and land use.

We were the external group to enter the space, and our group of diverse professionals used the three days at Platz*da to apply placemaking approaches to the space. 

We split into different working groups, based on the backgrounds and interests of our participants:

  • Data Gathering from the Local Community
  • Collaborative Building of Furniture 
  • A method for the community to propose activities in the space 
  • Using storytelling to connect the location to its historical past 

Wake Up! Cities at Urban Contest in Berlin, 2023

URBANCONFEST is a hybrid of a conference and a festival, incorporating diverse formats to tackle complex topics. We prioritize interactive, interdisciplinary, experimental, and playful approaches.

Mobility has suddenly become a crucial issue for us – scholars, practitioners, urban researchers, and activists, who currently find themselves scattered across Europe and the world. We long considered mobility a privilege we had access to.

However, the events following Russia’s full scale invasion in Ukraine in February 2022 forced us to rethink our perception of mobility. 

The Wake Up! Cities Consortium was present at Urban Contest, and exchanged with the wider participants, participated in the program, and shared learning from our time at Platz*Da

Wake Up! Cities at Brussels Nord 2024 – Final Partner Meeting and Networking Event with Youth Work and Placemaking Actors


Finalising of Project Materials



Placemaking & Youth Work Manifesto


Case Studies


Project Publication