participatory planning

Matej Niksic

Researcher Name: 
Matej Miksic

Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (UIRS), Ljubljana

Contact Email: 
Description of Research in Relation to Placemaking : 

The Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (UIRS; develops methods and tools for involving stakeholders in urban design processes, namely in the fields of comprehensive urban regeneration and public space reinvention. In the past decade UIRS has been active within the framework of the Human Cities project which was addressing the issues of participatory urban design practices across Europe ( One of the ongoing aims of UIRS is to develop new (digital) tools to enable a more active and direct participation of the citizens in the urban regeneration and place-making processes at the local level (e.g. district, neighborhood level). Within these endeavors the web-based application enabling the inhabitants to express their own perceptions of their living environment using digital photography with captions has been developed. The tool called Photostory of Our Neighborhood (PON) is an on-line tool that encourages the every-day users of urban spaces to tell “their stories of their neighborhoods” ( 

Interest in Contribution Field/Context: 

The main objective of UIRS’s cooperation in the COST action is to verify, at the theoretical and methodological level, the usefulness of such approaches in addressing the pressing social, environmental, cultural and eco-challenges that modern European cities are facing today. We would like to put special effort into the questions of usefulness of digital technologies to provide more justice in contemporary spatial development in general and placemaking in particular. The aim is also to critically assess PON within the broader academic-research environment with European colleagues in terms of its usefulness for the inclusion of citizens in the placemaking processes.  

Case Studies Conducted / Participated In: 

The development of Photostory of our neighbourhood digital tool (PON; see also the text under point  5. above). The tool is based on a crowdsourced data acquisition and uses the innovative narrative technique (a story through photography and its caption) to make the citizens “the local experts” and to make their voices heard. PON enables the citizens that would usually not take part in participatory planning events to express their points of views on the qualities and issues in the concrete living environments. The selection of the results of the first staging of PON can be seen here (the call) and here (the exibition in the public spaces of the city). 

External Stakeholders Engaged With: 


Modes of Investigation: 

Data collection method: neighbourhood walks (inviting residents to be guides through their living environments); on-line crowdsourced collection of photos with captions within 5 thematic clusters

Data analyses: qualitative interpretation of the collected materials

Dissemination: on-line, real-space exibitions in local environments, publications (online and printed)