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Placemakers consist of an interdisciplinary team of (landscape) architects, urban planners and sociologists. We focus on the interconnections between the physical and the social in our research, design and implementation of successful urban spaces.

The board of Placemakers consists of Roderik Schaepman (co-initiator De Buurtcamping, R&D Development), Martje van Ankeren (SIA) and Dennis van den Berg (Kennisland).

Katusha Sol (co-founder, sociologist)

Katusha is one of the founders of Placemakers and shares her knowledge and experience of cities – their energy, citizens and initiatives – by doing research, writing and teaching. She iteratively uses social scientific knowledge in Placemakers’ projects and inserts empirical experiences in her role as a teacher and education developer at the University of Amsterdam. Katusha carries out local-scale research, finds creative ways to extract local knowledge and ideas and is able to translate these into small and large interventions. Katusha is a.o. advisor for fundraising and strategy of De Buurtcamping.

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Anna Dekker (sociologist/urban planner)

With a background in sociology, urban planning and a MA ‘City Design and Social Science’ (LSE), Anna always reflects on the dialectics between the social and physical organization of cities. As a Placemaker, Anna connects large themes to small scale interventions that combine the expertise of citizens and professionals. Anna is furthermore co-founder of spatial design Studio LONK, co-founder and board member of non-profit Stichting Thuismakers Collectief and the academic director of the UvA summer progamme ‘The Everyday City and Beyond’.

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Karin de Nijs (urban sociologist/geographer)

Educated as a social scientist, Karin works to develop and understand how urban environments are planned and developed by professionals, while brought to life by its users and residents. As a researcher, advisor and project leader at Placemakers, Karin is currently involved in the gradual activation of the new Sluisbuurt neighborhood in Amsterdam, a.o. by providing space and support to local initiatives. Besides her activities at Placemakers, Karin works as a researcher at the Urban Management department of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, where she is involved in various projects as part of the thematic group ‘Inclusive area development’. 

Contact Karin

Brechtje Boeke 2016_filter
Brechtje Boeke (visual ethnographer)

With a background in Visual Ethnography, Brechtje creates documentary films that explain macro developments in health, economy, innovation and urban development through a micro and humanistic perspective. As a documentary maker and community manager, Brechtje is an innovative intermediary, combining academic skills with creativity and an open visual attitude. For Placemakers, Brechtje developed the tool Buurtpraat; a short documentary series followed by a screening + debate for and about locals in Amsterdam North. Currently, Brechtje is the community manager at our project BuurthavenAs a side project, she initiated, programs and hosts DUS; a multi disciplinary inspiration program at the Volkshotel

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Emma van Helden (architect)

Trained as an architect and urban planner at TuDelft and ETH Zurich, Emma enjoys to be involved in public space projects in the widest possible sense. After years of working as a process supervisor for various spatial challenges throughout the country (clients including: Schiphol, Province of Noord-Holland, municipality of Delft, municipality of Hillegom), she is currently working as a freelance designer on various projects in public space and for Placemakers at the project Buurthaven

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Mischa Woutersen (urban planner)

Mischa is part of the Placemakers team as a process and community manager, amongst others in the projects Buurthaven and BuurtpraatWith a background in urban planning, Mischa approaches projects strategically. While maintaining a strong sense of overview, as a community manager Mischa focuses on the needs and wishes of invidual participating residents. Alongside Placemakers, Mischa is involved in the work of Mama Louise, where talented residents are guided in (social) entrepreneurship. 

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Naomi Hoogervorst (co-founder, architect)

As one of the founders of Placemakers, Naomi envisions co-creation concepts that allow for a diversity of stakeholders to communicate ideas and demands, translated into a plan that may be implemented collectively. Naomi works for Placemakers in the quickly expanding urban area of Nairobi, Kenya. Here she investigates the possibilities for placemaking as an integral part of the urban development of Nairobi. In collaboration with a.o. INTI, UN Habitat and the International Federation of Housing, Naomi takes the lead in the Placemakers program Making Cities Together.

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Mark Ojal (urban designer)

Mark lives in Nairobi, Kenya and was trained as an urban designer at the TU Kenya. Mark has been affiliated with Placemakers since 2014. Being very familiar with Nairobi’s social and spatial networks, he is a master in connecting ideas, people and places. With his gathered experiences at Placemakers, Mark currently participates in the research and strategy development for Nairobi’s city wide public spaces, commissioned by the local administration and UN-Habitat. Since 2018, Mark is also working as an Urban Designer and Placemaking Expert at UN-Habitat.

Contact Mark


Whenever possible and necessary we collaborate with experts to assemble the best team for a project:

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