Placemaking in our towns and cities
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Placemaking in our towns and cities

Webinar: 10:00 - 11:30

17 Jun 2021 Virtual Event


** Last chance to book **

A discussion on how placemaking has become a critical approach to town/city centre regeneration. The event will explore ways of creating places with a sense of identity which energise the community. It will also look at placemaking can help create more inclusive and healthier urban environments.  

A panel of sector leading experts will be exploring the following topics:

  1. Delivering positive change in our towns centres
  2. Placemaking approach – how making connections can unlock potential
  3. Rewriting our relationship with place


Bharati Ghodke, Associate Director, Project Centre


  • Keith Longley, Programme Director, Dartford Town Centre Regeneration, Dartford Borough Council
  • Joao Toscano, Technical Director, DesignWorks, Project Centre
  • Rosanna Vitiello, Co-Founder, Place Bureau
  • Marcus Willcocks, Urban and Collaborative Designer, Sustrans

This event is sponsored by Project Centre

Speaker Biography

Keith Longley MCIHT MAPM - Programme Manager, Dartford Borough Council

Keith is a Civil Engineer and Prince2 and Lean Six Sigma Practitioner. Having held roles with lead responsibility for the design, implementation and management of high profile transport, technology and infrastructure projects in London and across the South. Having transitioned into broader project and programme management, Keith has applied his transferable skills to projects such as TfL’s London Cycle Hire and the London 2012 Olympics. Keith was appointed as the Programme Manager for the £12M+ multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder Dartford Town Centre Regeneration project in August 2018.

Dartford Town Centre Regeneration (DTCR) project – Transformation!

The DTCR project seeks to truly transform Dartford Town Centre, to improve its economic performance through the delivery of high quality public realm and environmental enhancement, facilitate better accessibility and movement, and positively support the broader regeneration and redevelopment of the town - particularly when in view of the current high levels of  residential development. The DTCR benefits from £12M funding provided by Homes England and South East Local Enterprise Partnership/Local Growth Fund, with additional funding streams being added as the project progresses. The project is split into five phases - Phase 1 (Market Street) design commenced in late 2018 and construction commenced in May 2019 – finally completing in February 2021. The completed work has received widespread praise both for the design and workmanship/finish scheme. Phases 1a and 2 have just commenced construction, to be completed in early 2022. The design of Phase 3 is ongoing. The hope is that by late 2023, Dartford will be almost unrecognisable from the previous unattractive, dated and congested traffic-centric environment.

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Joao Toscano CMLI, Technical Director of Landscape and Public Realm, Project Centre

Joao is a Chartered Landscape Architect and the Technical Director for Landscape and Public Realm at Project Centre. In recent years, he had a leading role in the transformation of Dartford and Camberley town centres. Throughout his career, he has worked over many geographies and scales varying from the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro to St. Olav’s Square in Southwark. Our landscape and public realm team is currently working on various transformational schemes across the UK, unlocking fantastic placemaking opportunities to improve our public spaces and green infrastructure.        

Making Connections, Unlocking Potential

Town Centres are constantly evolving, changing… How can they adapt to break old constraints and overcome future challenges? How can placemaking unlock the potential for healthier, safer, more flexible town centres that promote a distinct identity, social inclusiveness, environmental values and economic growth? Joao will share examples of where the approach of placemaking and the positive dialogue between people, place and use have created spaces that better serve and energize the community. Joao will also discuss the importance of the town centre experience (in particular the public space) in the era of smart technology.   

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Rosanna Vitiello is a co-founder and Bureau Chief at The Place Bureau. As a cultural strategist, designer and urban researcher, her work encourages people to see their cities through new eyes to open urban potential. Exploring identity and meaning among places and communities, she draws on shared narratives as an untapped design tool for placemakers. She works worldwide across scales, from consensus-building at government level on projects such as Euston station redevelopment, to drawing out unheard stories with local people at street level in Southampton. She is a Research Associate at Central Saint Martins and holds an MA in Design for Public Space from Elisava, Barcelona.

Marcus Willcocks is a practicing designer and action researcher, who works with social, spatial and collaborative forms of design. He collaborates with widely diverse communities, industry disciplines, authorities and decision-makers, towards more equitable, creative public spaces, and more playfulness in how we respond to tricky problems. He is a Research Fellow at Central Saint Martins college of arts and design in London, with the Design Against Crime Research Centre, and the Socially Responsive Design Innovation unit. He is Senior Urban Designer with the active travel charity, Sustrans, and is one of the Design Council’s networks of Built Environment Experts.

Title How the City Speaks to Us, How We Speak Back: Rewriting Our Relationship with Place

How can placemaking practices establish a 'call and response' that is both listening to the city, and encouraging greater opportunities for local people to speak back and express identity? In search of a more equitable and iterative approach, Marcus and Rosanna’s talk will explore how diverse and active voices in placemaking can become long-term norms rather than sporadic opportunities. Delving into how the world, emerging after the pandemic, could encourage us to rewrite our relationships with our local neighbourhoods and town centres as markers of collective identity, to shape more responsive streets and public spaces. We ask:

  • What are the ways you understand a city speaks to people through its streets and public spaces?
  • How can individuals and communities best speak back, to take an active role in how they relate to their local environments, at neighbourhood or city level?
  • If you could do one thing to support better ‘dialogue’ in the relations between people and cities in the future, what would you do?

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