PUBLIC TALK: The Thriving Future of Places: Placemaking, Governance, and the Future of Cities

29 September 2015 06:30 pm - 08:00 pm

PPSEthan Kent, Vice President at Project for Public Spaces, and Philip Winn, Senior Associate, will be joining us again in September this year. The Project for Public Spaces continues to be a global hub for the placemaking movement and continues to lead and inspire the transformation of places for people around the world. Please join the Future Cities Collaborative and Project for Public Spaces, together with other world-renowned Placemaking practioners for an interactive session on the thriving future of places.

Cities need to be great places for people to live, work, and play - but how do local governments acheive this vision for the future and create thriving places? Project for Public Spaces, a New York based nonprofit, planning, design and educational organisation, and Global Cities, a UK based urban consultancy, are devoted to helping city leaders employ international best-practice Placemaking initiatives to transform their public spaces into vital places for their communities.

In order for Placemaking initiatives to be a success, they need to have the right governance structures in place. Mayors and local governments can no longer only be concerned with Roads, Rates, and Rubbish - they need to champion change and create and sustain beautiful, thriving places in which their citizens can live, work and play.

Join Ethan Kent; David Adam; Former City of Adelaide CEO and Principal of Place Governance Partners, Peter Smith; and Manager of Place Management at Pittwater Council, Melinda Hewitt for a thought-provoking public event discussing the key elements of Placemaking, the shift from planning cities full of objects to cities full of places, and the governance structures needed for Placemaking strategies to be a success.

Ethan Kent - Senior Vice President, Project for Public Spaces
David Adam - Founding Director, Global Cities
Peter Smith - former Chief Executive Officer, City of Adelaide, and Principal, Place Governance Partners
Melinda Hewitt - Manager of Place Management, Pittwater Council
Facilitated by Professor Edward Blakely - Chair, Future Cities Collaborative

We hope you can join us for what will be a stimulating evening of discussion, debate and ideas around the future of cities, creating thriving places, the role of local government, and Placemaking as the new urban agenda.





Ethan Kent - Senior Vice President, Project for Public Spaces 

Ethan Kent

Ethan Kent works to support Placemaking organizations, projects and leadership around the world. During over 17 years at PPS, Ethan has traveled to more than 750 cities and 55 countries to advance the cause of Placemaking and public spaces. Ethan has been integral to the development of Placemaking as a transformative approach to economic development, environmentalism, transportation planning, governance and design.

Having worked on over 200 PPS projects, Ethan has led a broad spectrum of Placemaking efforts, providing comprehensive public engagement, planning and visioning for many important public spaces. Highlights have included: Times Square in New York; Kennedy Plaza in Providence, RI; Pompey Square, Nassau, Bahamas; Garden Place in Hamilton, New Zealand; Sub Centro Las Condes in Santiago, Chile; and The Porch, Philadelphia, PA. He has also worked with some of the most high profile developments in the world to help maximize public space outcomes in Hong Kong, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Auckland, Parramatta and Sao Paulo.

Utilizing lessons learned through his project work, Ethan regularly creates and conducts Placemaking training courses for professionals of various disciplines, from city planning staff in Vancouver, BC, to community development corporations in Detroit; from public housing developers in Sweden to traffic engineers in New Jersey. He has also trained hundreds of professionals across Australia and New Zealand, through leading more than 25 training workshops.

In order to begin to institutionalize Placemaking in cities, Ethan has initiated and led local Placemaking Partnerships and Campaigns with public, private and non-profit leaders to build capacity on all levels, shift organizational culture, implement demonstration projects and develop local campaigns for Placemaking. Ethan has applied this strategy in a wide range of cities including Chicago, Indianapolis, San Antonio, Baltimore, Seattle, San Francisco, Omaha, Flint, MI, Brunswick, ME, Bellingham, WA, Richmond, VA, Adelaide and Melbourne, Australia, Mississauga, Canada, in New Zealand and state-wide in Michigan.

This approach has had the most tangible effect in New York City where Ethan co-founded the NYC Streets Renaissance Campaign, as an effort to challenge auto-centric transportation policy and inspire a new public vision of streets as dynamic destinations. To launch the campaign, he directed an educational exhibit called Livable Streets: A New Vision for New York, then initiated and helped manage demonstration Placemaking processes with local stakeholders in some of NYC’s most important yet auto-dominated areas including Times Square, 9th Avenue in Hells Kitchen, the Meatpacking District, Myrtle Avenue, Columbus Avenue, Petrosino Square, Union Square and Grand Army Plaza. The campaign and its demonstration projects led to a bold shift in NYC transportation policy including a Public Plaza Program, managed by former PPS staff, that is reclaiming street space for dynamic new public spaces throughout the city.


David Adam - Founding Director, GlobalCities 

David AdamDavid Adam is Founding Director of GlobalCities, a niche consultancy providing advice on the business of cities. GlobalCities provides thought-leadership on Cities and Globalisation, examining economic, demographic, and technological trends and their interplay with urbanisation.

David has experience in delivering major projects with cities across multiple international markets, he has devised many high visibility brand positioning projects at the Olympics for London and Beijing. He writes and speaks on trends within globalisation and their impact on places. He is the founder of Future London - a consortium which developed the vision for a London bid to host the World Expo in 2025; he is co-author of the International Place Branding Manifesto, and a founder and collaborator of the Ke2 initiative sharing best practice in knowledge exchange from around the globe.

David is an associate of the urban think tank Centre for London, an expert for the European Best Place Institute, and expert contributor for the Urban Land Institute, and in 2014 he was recognised as a Young Leader by the World Cities Summit in Singapore.

He has held roles including Head of Emerging Markets at the London Development Agency and led on positioning London in the key markets of China, India, Russia and South America and defining London’s future economic strategy opportunities in new markets. He spearheaded Mayor Livingstone’s international relations initiatives in India in 2007 and - under Mayor Johnson’s administration - was responsible for London House - London’s brand platform during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.  


Peter Smith - Principal, Place Governance Partners and former CEO of Adelaide City Council 

Peter SmithPeter is internationally recognized as one of the world’s leading thinkers on Place Governance and the role that Government, the private sector and the community can play in successfully activating public spaces to achieve economic, social, creative and sustainable outcomes.

Peter has over 30 years’ experience working in CEO and senior executive roles in Federal, State and Municipal governments in Australia, with particular experience in leading major urban renewal programs and developing and implementing a range of successful place making, affordable housing, community development and social justice strategies and programs for Government.

Most recently he led the implementation of an award winning Place Making strategy at Adelaide City Council during his seven year term as the CEO (City Manager) which has led to the renaissance of inner city Adelaide in South Australia. Peter pioneered a unique three pronged approach to implementing the City Place Making strategy by linking public space activation to changes in the culture and governance processes of the City administration, whilst at the same time building the capacity of the community and private sector to manage and influence public space through a “place led” approach.

Peter is the recent past Chairman of Place Leaders Asia Pacific a network of over 100 public and private sector organizations and individuals that are interested in Place Making. In this role he has championed place making across Australia, New Zealand and SE Asia and he remains as a strategic advisor to the current Board. Peter has recently been appointed as a Senior Associate of Project for Public Spaces (PPS), New York, a global leader in place making advocacy and consultancy services and will work in partnership with PPS, with a particular focus on the Asia Pacific Region.


Melinda Hewitt - Manager of Place Management, Pittwater Council 

Melinda HewittMelinda has been with Pittwater Council for over four and half years and was recently appointed to the role of Manager to a new Place Management Business Unit. Within her role at Council she is responsible for place management, economic development, arts and culture, urban design, events and the ‘Enliven Pittwater’ strategy.

Melinda has many years’ experience in management and social infrastructure planning, as well as experience in the development and implementation of social, cultural, community and economic development policy and strategy. Melinda holds a Masters of Community Management and has successfully completed the Senior Executives in Local and State Government Program at Harvard.






Back to Top