The Story Behind the Place: Creating Urban Spaces That Enhance Quality of Life

E.J. Cilliers, W. Timmermans, F. van den Goorbergh, J.S.A. Slijkhuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Stories play an exceptionally important role in how people assign value to a place. Taken together, all those stories essentially give a place an identity. The aim of placemaking is to ensure that the people using a place can appreciate that place. Placemaking approaches are focussed on strategic interventions in a place and aimed at changing the meaning and value of that place for local people, thus creating a qualitative place for enhanced storytelling. Using greenery is a common approach in place-making. Urban greenery has gone through a process of emancipation in the past 15 years. This emancipation has led to awareness that urban greenery is about more than just ecology and biodiversity, but also has social and economic consequences for a city’s fortunes. It is clear that green spaces do not stand alone: they are part of a complex urban system, and the use of green spaces in this complex system has immediate repercussions for how the city functions. With the changing role of green spaces within cities, the need to manage these spaces is emphasized. In this sense, the place-making approach, along with the storytelling approach could provide valuable insight on the planning and management of green spaces within the urban environment, with the aim to enhance quality of life by means of the social connection between people, the users of the space, and the qualitative place provided. This research illustrated that green space managers would need more social and organizational skills to manage modern urban green spaces in an attempt to create qualitative, usable spaces for citizens, spaces that are built upon stories and spaces that would further enable future stories of citizen life.

The Story Behind the Place: Creating Urban Spaces That Enhance Quality of Life (PDF Download Available). Available from: [accessed Dec 21, 2015].
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-598
JournalApplied research in Quality of Life
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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