Symbolic places endow physical spaces with meaning. They impart knowledge about historical events, narrate stories, or stand for specific concerns. While the creation of symbolic places used to be mostly the task of politics and administration, today civil society turns its attention toward such locations. They are of great potential significance, moreover, for urban development—provided they are advanced for the sake of the common good.
This book sheds light on the characteristics of symbolic places, their functioning, and the challenges and obstacles they confront. The collected examples range from historically fraught places, such as Berlin’s Olympic Grounds, all the way to places of collective self-empowerment like the self-managed Navarinou Park in Athens. Contributions by distinguished authors from the fields of history, social science, urban planning, and urban marketing encourage readers to take up recognized—but also controversial— symbolic places. Or, as suggested by the title of this anthology, to actively “make” them through collective discussions and decision-making processes.