The thriving future of places: Placemaking, governance and the future of cities



29 September 2015


Sydney Law School, The University of Sydney


Public forum

Cities need to be great places for people to live, work, and play - but how do local governments achieve 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. But 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.

The Future Cities Collaborative hosted a public event with Project for Public Spaces vice president Ethan Kent and founding director of Global Cities David Adam, featuring a thought-provoking discussion on 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. An interactive panel discussion followed the keynotes. Kent and Adam were joined by Peter Smith, former CEO of the City of Adelaide, and Melinda Hewitt, manager of place management at Pittwater Council - both active practitioners of Placemaking and successful governance structures in cities.


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

Supported by Project for Public Spaces and Global Cities 

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


  • Ethan Kent
    Senior Vice President, Project for Public Spaces

    Ethan Kent visited the US Studies Centre in 2015 and 2016 to support the work of the US Studies Centre's Future Cities Collaborative. Kent is the Senior Vice President at Project for Public Spaces and works to support Placemaking organisations, projects and leadership around the world. Globally, Kent has been integral to the development of Placemaking as a transformative approach to economic development, environmentalism, transportation planning, governance and design.

  • David Adam
    Founding Director of Global Cities

    David Adam is Founding Director of Global Cities, 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.

    Adam has experience in delivering major projects with cities across multiple international markets, he...