The creation of public spaces as the protagonist of the Placemaking Training in the Play/Act project

The Italian city of Matera will host the third international learning activity of the Play/Act project from March 13 to 18. The capital of the Basilicata region will be the meeting point for about twenty students and teachers involved in this Erasmus initiative to receive training in Placemaking. This module is part of the transdisciplinary training course that combines theoretical classes, practical activities, and interesting visits to the participating countries: Italy, Budapest, Portugal, and Spain.

Local artists, designers, and youth activists, among others, will participate in this six-day training, including Dr. Antonella Guida, a professor at the Università degli Studi della Basilicata in the Department of European and Mediterranean Cultures and Architecture, Environment, Cultural Heritage, with the sole aim of training those involved in the essential competencies of the project.

One of the main implementation actions is the development of creative and ideation processes. In this case, participants will be presented with a challenge to create public spaces using design thinking techniques to analyze problems and devise solutions (empathy maps, journey maps, etc.). Additionally, creative project planning will be conducted using specific tools such as Creative Project Canva to present sustainable business models. Similarly, topics such as urban planning, civic participation, legal frameworks, financing, and communication skills will play an important role in exchanging experiences, knowledge, and cultural references related to the project focus.

On the last day of this training, participants will present their work and highlight the most important conclusions to foster a critical debate about this meeting. In this way, relevant organizations can carry out the evaluation of the present activity, as well as the preparation of future events and the analysis of the impact of the developed project.

Previous Trainings

Students and teachers gathered last November in the Portuguese city of Évora to receive a workshop on mapping and community participation from the University of Évora. This first training focused on providing participants with tools for the cartography of places, as a first step in placemaking processes. The group also shared the local processes they have chosen to intervene in their cities in the Portuguese locality.


Play/Act is funded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union with a budget of 275,596 euros and a duration until March 2024. It is led by the University of Évora (Portugal). It also involves the participation of the University of Extremadura and the Economy, Science, and Digital Agenda Council of the Extremadura Region, as Spanish representatives; Community Impact of Lisbon, in Portugal; the Creative Industries Consortium of Matera Hub, as an Italian representative; and the Hungarian Center for Contemporary Architecture or KÉK, based in Budapest.

The project aims to undertake the creation and testing of an interdisciplinary training plan in higher education, validated by the universities of Évora and Extremadura, taking the New European Bauhaus initiative as a reference. To achieve this, a process of design, creation, and adaptation of spaces is proposed, involving young people as active participants and promoters of their community, for the transformation and improvement of their environment.

Among the project’s objectives is the ability to prototype and test an interdisciplinary community-centered framework and promote the adoption of these practices in higher education. Another identified objective is to raise awareness among young people as active agents of urban and social citizenship and transformation. In this way, they will be able to seek solutions to community problems through place-making tools, in a logic of dialogue with the community and interest groups, taking into account cultural, social, and environmental contexts.