For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
You are using a browser that is no longer supported by Microsoft. Please upgrade your browser. The site may not present itself correctly if you continue browsing.

Placemaking: Sense, Space & Strategy

This three-week programme will explore the web of relationships between people and place. Placemaking as a philosophy and practice concerns the improvement of urban spaces by including its users in the transition for change. Through a bottom-up planning process, it intends to give the right to the city back to its inhabitants. This innovative course borrows from human geography, experimental and environmental-psychology, history, and sociology, problematising the urban environments in which we live.

  • Programme at a glance
    Mode of instruction: On-campus (3 weeks) 
    Academic dates: Sunday 21 July - Thursday 8 August 2024 (tentative) 
    Housing dates: Friday 19 July - Friday 9 August 2024 (tentative) 
    Academic fees:

    €1750 (tentative) read more about what is included in the fees.

    Professional fee:

    €2000 (tentative) read more about what is included in the fees.

    Housing fees:

    €650 (tentative). Housing is optional, and different types of rooms are available at different prices. Room types and prices will be noted in an offer of admission. Read more about university-organised accomodation.

    Credits: 6 European Credits. Read more about credits and credit transfer.  
    Early admission deadline: Thursday 1 February 2024
    Regular admission deadline: Friday 15 March 2024
    Who is this programme for?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Students should be in good academic standing to participate in the summer school. For current university students (Bachelors and Masters) in the arts and social sciences with an interest in in urban studies. For working professionals with a desire to continue their education in this field.
  • Programme description

    This three-week interdisciplinary course unravels the theory, policies, politics and practices 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. Situating placemaking in a mixed academic context, this course focuses on topics such as public space, community, diversity and 'the right to the city'. Interdisciplinary theoretical insights will directly inspire the hands-on part of the programme in which students will apply the Placemaking methodology and put forward proposals for interventions.

    Experiencing the city is at the heart of this programme. It presents exciting alternative ways to understand how people live in, respond to, and imagine their cities. Urban spaces can be imagined as territories of negotiation. Sensory experiences often inspire a strong sense of belonging and might therefore play an important role in the co-creation of space.  

    The diverse morning lectures focus on the theory of placemaking. In the afternoon, we will use Amsterdam as our living laboratory,  exploring placemaking practices at various locations. You will learn by doing, intensively engaging with a specific site in Amsterdam. There you will study challenges formulated by local stakeholders (these might be community organizers or the municipality). To analyse and develop an intervention for these challenges you will be guided through a design thinking research process involving local residents. Finally, you will have the opportunity to present your initial solutions in the presence of the stakeholders. 

    Like other global cities, Amsterdam is constantly growing and changing, with implications for people’s relationships to the city. In this territory of negotiation, where the sense of belonging is at stake, placemaking offers an opportunity – albeit small – to practice the right to the city. 

  • Academic directors

    Dr. Iris van Huis is a sociologist with a PhD in Political Science. Iris' work is truly interdisciplinary: her areas of academic interest range from interventions and movements engaging men in conversations regarding intersectional equality, to social work interventions in disadvantaged neighborhoods. She also studied resistances to the representation of the Dutch colonial heritage in ethnographic museums and protests against ethnonationalist discourses by artists with refugee backgrounds. Iris has taught and coordinated study programmes at the University of Amsterdam, and has previously taught this course in summer 2019. 

  • Explore our community

    Want to get to know more about studying in Amsterdam, and what the urban fabric of sensescapes is like? Follow us on social media and join our summer community. Get a feel for our summer school vibe and our academic and social community, and learn about studying with us through the eyes of past summer school students. 

    Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter 

    Interested in hearing more about placemaking as a methodology and ongoing placemaking projects in Amsterdam? Listen to some of our placemaking experts in this episode of our podcast, Mokum. 

    Sensory tour of Amsterdam with Thea Dukes
    Sensory tour of Amsterdam with Thea Dukes
SPO Video
Join us in Amsterdam!
Facts & Figures
6 ECTS, 3 weeks
Language of instruction
Starts in