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Placemaking and Public Space Design: Unlocking Tourist Destinations

What makes a top tourist destination? Discover what gives a destination ‘place potential’ and build skills for working in tourism.

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Discover placemaking, place shaping, and what makes an attractive tourist space

What is it that makes a tourist hotspot hot? When it comes to developing sustainable, attractive, and exciting tourist destinations, high quality public spaces are key.

This fascinating course offers an introduction to public space design and placemaking at tourist destinations.

Through an exploration of the key features of space, climate, hospitality and more, you’ll learn what makes a potentially top tourist destination.

Explore what makes a successful tourist destination

When it comes to tourist destinations, a successful space must make people visiting from afar feel welcome. This course invites you to examine what we can learn from high-end hospitality and tourist destinations around the world.

Using case-studies and research, you’ll study how the best squares and public spaces have developed over time and pinpoint exactly what makes them a commercial success.

Discover placemaking and what gives a destination ‘place potential’

From the design of a pedestrianised square to the combination of the built and natural environment, there are many factors which give a destination its ‘star factor’.

You’ll explore how the built and natural environments in a place come together to create local micro-climates. You’ll also discover the impact of climate as well as how to enhance the value of a space to make it more people-friendly.

Study tourism and placemaking with Luleå University of Technology

This course is based on a wide range of academic research and examples taken from architecture, urban design, place-shaping, and town planning.

You’ll benefit from the lead educator’s wealth of experience working in design development and development process management and, by the end of the course, you’ll be confident in exactly how to identify ‘place-potential’ in a destination.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 3 seconds What makes a world class tourist destination?

Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds What makes a successful public space?

Skip to 0 minutes and 14 seconds What is the difference between a good public space and a great public space? Why have some public spaces destination’s for citizens and tourists alike.

Skip to 0 minutes and 27 seconds Why do some public spaces create new economic opportunities? How do you know if public space will be attractive. How does the climate make or break a public space? How can we use the climate in our favour? Working with the sun to light up the public spaces, using the shade to cool them. Finding shelter from the rain and wind. Learn how to make a successful urban space. Learn how to design for better microclimate. Learn how to think about successful spaces.


  • Week 1

    Public Space

    • Introduction to the course

      Here you get all the information about the course that you might need.

    • Public space

      Public space is an important part of cities, towns and rural communities. They are centres for movement and gathering and destinations for residents and visitors.

    • Summary and reflection week 1

      Here your lead educator summarizes the first week and gives you some questions for reflection.

  • Week 2

    Urban Micro-Climate

    • Welcome to week 2

      Here your lead educator presents the content of week 2.

    • Place-shaping

      Public places are shaped by a range of different factors.

    • Micro-climate and urban design

      The design of public places can be adapted to the local micro-climate.

    • Summary and reflection week 2

      Here your lead educator summarizes the week and gives you some questions for reflection.

  • Week 3

    Improving the Urban Micro-Climate

    • Welcome to week 3

      Here your lead educator presents the content of week 3.

    • Improving the Urban Micro-Climate

      The improvement of the urban micro-climate is discussed through examples from practice.

    • Course closure and reflection

      Here your lead educator summarizes the course and gives you some questions for reflection.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain how successful public spaces can generate tourist destinations and commercial value.
  • Assess the competitive advantages of public space for tourism.
  • Explain how the built and natural environments come together to create local micro-climates.
  • Reflect on destination and hospitality scenarios.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone who would like to better understand place-shaping in tourism.

This may include those looking to work in place shaping as part of the tourism or hospitality industry, as well as current tourism professionals who want to upskill and gain confidence in new working practices for tourism.

Who will you learn with?

I am an architect &town planner with over 20 years of experience of working at the interface between society, practice and academia. This provides me with unique insights into the various interface.

I am a conservation specialist, having worked with built environments, historic sites and urban planning both in practice and academia.

Who developed the course?

Luleå University of Technology

The Luleå University of Technology mission is to shape the future through innovative education and ground-breaking research results. Located in the arctic region, the university creates global societal benefit.


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