The 2015 Future of Places conference will serve as a lead-in to Habitat III and its theme “Toward a New Urban Agenda.”  Conference-goers will have an opportunity to shape that agenda by helping to define the critical issues for action,particularly around the agenda of public space, place and placemaking. The Future of Places conference recognises the central importance of public spaces, not only as amenities, but as dynamic environments that are shaped by the people themselves – not abstract space but human places, shaped actively by “placemaking.”  These public places, along with their adjacent private and semi-private places, form a critical connective network within the city — profoundly influencing, and potentially limiting, social, economic and personal development.


In line with the public space agenda for Habitat III, the theme of the academic session is “Growing Public Spaces: Shaping the Agenda for Science, Policy, Practice, and Civil Society.”  We recognise that it is not only the quantity of public space as an amenity that must be increased, but the quality of human places and placemaking that must be supported and enhanced, by governments, researchers, practitioners and NGOs – and ultimately, by the people themselves.

We invite your submission of a paper abstract of no more than 300 words for initial consideration.  If invited, you will be asked to complete a paper of between 3,000 and 6,000 words for the conference proceedings, accompanied by an oral presentation (with slides if desired) of 15 minutes.

It is recommended (but not required) that submissions be focused on one of the four following areas:

  • SCIENCE: Advancing New Theoretical Insights and Opportunities for Growing Public Space.
  • POLICY: Removing Barriers and Inserting Reforms to Promote a Stronger Public Realm.
  • PRACTICE: Advancing New Tools and Models for Public Space and Placemaking.
  • CIVIL SOCIETY: Organising Groups and Strategies to Achieve the Needed Changes.

We invite you to consider the following sub-themes, among others:

  • Places and placemaking
  • Urban spatial networks and networks of place
  • Economic spillovers and social dynamics
  • Innovation districts and placemaking
  • Ingredients of successful urban places
  • Urban capacity and capability
  • Diversity and equity
  • Multi-modal mobility
  • Street design for health
  • Emerging tools and toolkits
  • Implementation strategies for short-term impacts
  • Priorities for research, education, policy and practice
  • Streets as drivers of urban prosperity
  • Placemaking in small towns and rural settings


Invited speakers include:

  • Harrison Fraker
  • Jan Gehl
  • Phil Hadfield
  • Arif Hassan
  • Bruce Katz
  • Jennifer Keesmaat
  • Eva de Klerk
  • Agyeman Neema Kudva
  • Vikas Mehta
  • Fran Tonkiss
  • Saskia Sassen
  • Richard Sennett
  • And others to be announced

Abstracts will be reviewed by a qualified panel of referees, and selected abstracts will be invited to submit full papers. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words, on one page, including author(s)’ name and contact information at the top of the page. Email submissions to academic[at]