On site foundation

Our aim is to help develop, create and strengthen local communities by creating PLACES that evoke social interactions and bring people together.

We want to bring back and enliven natural gathering spaces such as marketplaces or backyards that for various reasons do not fulfill their functions well, are deserted, or have become dangerous. A PLACE is a space designed in such a way as to encourage people to be in place, to meet and interact with one another.

PLACES have the potential to create lively local communities. We believe that only spaces created by the residents themselves can function as intended – thus, we always work with both the space and its users.

The method: we operate in the spirit of our partner organization, the New York based Project for Public Spaces.

Why we work

  • Because we put people in the first place – it is not the architecture and not the design that is most important. Spatial solutions are meant to serve people and not to be merely an interesting form of creation. We don’t ask the question “Is the building good?”. Our question is “Does the building do good?”
  • Because places are essential – Warsaw needs good quality public spaces – PLACES. What is also necessary is good practice and know-how to be able to create them. We see a great necessity to discuss how a given space can be useful to people, so that a valuable spot in the city would not become another “fancy salon”.
  • Because it’s all about right here and right now – we rely on inexpensive and mobile implementations. We want to apply low-budget, creative solutions that can bring about immediate changes. A common and discouraging practice is organizing public consultations and then not complying with the postulates or postponing them indefinitely.
  • Because the residents are also experts – we want to convince the residents and make them believe that they are the experts on the spaces they live in, as opposed to some detached and revered “real” experts. Professional designers and architects are supposed to help people by putting their ideas into effect. Sociologists and cultural animators, on the other hand, should inspire and show examples of good solutions.
  • Because we are mustering a coalition for good spaces – we combine the potential, the know-how and the strengths of different areas: local authorities + residents + scientists + entrepreneurs + cultural personalities.

How we work

Our foundation derives its knowledge of creating and maintaining lively urban spaces by taking advantage of the interdisciplinary combination of studies in sociology, environmental psychology, architecture, landscape architecture and urbanism.

  • we work together with residents: we implement long-term projects to activate and integrate local communities;
  • we collaborate with local authorities: in order to improve the residents’ participation in urban planning procedures and processes, as well as to raise the competence level of officials who deal with spatial development;
  • Strategies and reports: we invent strategies and prepare reports on spatial and social development as well as on community planning.
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Marta Trakul – Masłowska
President and founder of the On site foundation. Graduate of political studies and sociology at the University of Warsaw. She collaborates with local authorities and non-governmental ogranizations. She coordinated an EU project of setting up social enterprises at the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland, where she also worked on her own project of creating a national network of time banks called “Czas nawzajem” (Time Each Other). In the co-operation with the Warsaw authorities she carried out her projects intended to build the sense of local identity among the capital’s residents: “Mapy Starej Ochoty” (Old Ochota Maps) – a report concerning psychological maps of this district of Warsaw, the series “Zielone debaty – śniadania na trawie” (Green Debates – Breakfasts on the Grass) – informal public consultations regarding the city’s green areas, environmental eductaion classes called “Eko-sztuczki” (Eco-Tricks), the series “Osiedlamy się” (We’re settling down) – cultural animation project aimed at the residents of Warsaw’s apartment block neighborhoods.
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Krzysztof Herman
Chairman of the On site foundation Council. Dr. Eng. of landscape architecture. Assistant professor at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences’ Department of Landscape Art, lecturer at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences’ Faculty of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, graduate of the Fulbright Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. His academic work focuses on temporary gardens and landscape art. Founding member of the artist collective “Parque-no” (www.parque-no.org). President of the Mazovian Department of the Polish Landscape Architects Association. He collaborates with the Association for Improving the Residential Environment “ODBLOKUJ”. He also works for the European Federation for Landscape Architecture (EFLA). He conducts design workshops with local residents, carries out artistic and landscape architecture projects in public spaces.
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Greta Droździel – Papuga
Graduate of cultural studies and Polish philology. She studied at the University of Warsaw, the Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities, and at the Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora of the Jagiellonian University. For four years she worked for the City Magistrate as a youth trainer, a coordinator of the city’s local authorities education project and an editor of the bulletin “Działaj! Przewodnik obywatela” (Act! A Citizen’s Guide). She was active at the opening of the Warsaw Department of the Emmaus Association, which concentrates on creating and managing volunteers communities. Cultural animator for local communities, co-founder of the “Poznaj swojego sąsiada” (Meet Your Neighbor) movie club. A movie lover who never stops exploring Warsaw and discovering it anew each time.
Karolina Kotowska
Graphic design

Download our materials

Summary of 2014 and plans for 2015

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