The Oslo placemaking toolbox

Placemaking toolbox Oslo
credit: Julie Hrnčířová

The Oslo placemaking toolbox provides you with access to free manuals to make your community more livable. All tools were developed and tested in Norway by a vibrant community of placemakers. Many of the manuals evolved as part of our work to make cities more green and social. The Oslo toolbox is open source and embedded in the Placemaking Europe toolbox you can browse for further inspiration. It was developed as part of the PlaceCity project you can learn about here.

The tools

Placemaking Pils

We at Nabolagshager started the tradition of Placemaking Pils in Oslo. The tool combines listening to speed presentations of some of the most inspiring placemaking examples from your network while socializing over a beer. It was the answer to the question: “how to share the amazing placemaking projects with other placemakers to create a supportive group and make it accessible to people from the outside”
Download the free Placemaking Pils tool manual here

Placemaking Pils hosted by Nabolagshager
credit Nabolagshager

Creating a digital communal dinner

In collaboration with Crews we wrote down their tool on how to create a digital communal dinner. In 2019 CREWS invited all residents of Oslo to join their communal dinner with Oslo’s longest dining table. They served dinner made from ingredients harvested in the park and other urban gardens in Oslo. In 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they developed a concept to create a free digital communal dinner inviting people to receive a bag of locally grown vegetables, make soup at home, and post pictures to social media using the hashtag #OslosLengsteLangbord. The tool will walk you through all steps of how to create your digital communal dinner with locally grown vegetables. It’s a Covid-19 proof placemaking tool that brings some joy into your community. Download the free manual on how to create your digital community dinner and get started.

Creating a digital communal dinner 
Placemaking in Oslo
credit cover picture crews


In 2019, Ingeborg Njøs Slinde, a landscape architect from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, supported by Nabolagshager, facilitated two co-creation workshops to help current students from Hersleb high school identify challenges and opportunities in thei school and inspire them to get involved in their community. During the first workshop, Ingeborg used a participatory method called pictogramming, developed by herself, that allowed the young people to show how they use their schoolyard to further create a discussion about their needs and wishes, develop ideas, and suggest short- and long-term improvements for the school.

If you would like to organize your own pictogramming workshop in your community, you can find the free manual here with everything you need to know!

Pictogramming Placemaking Nabolagshager
Pictogramming tool

Sticker democracy tool

The sticker democracy tool is a great way to engage your local community in a democratic way. Participation is a low threshold and allows you to engage adults as well as children and youth. You could ask people’s opinion on planned activities and get a majority vote or you could use the tool to evaluate your ongoing process.

Oslo Living Lab’s youth research team tested the tool at Hersleb high school in central Oslo and were surprised by the vast response. So we felt like sharing this tool with you.

Download your free copy of the sticker democracy tool manual and get ready to hear what your local community thinks.

sticker democracy tool is being tested at H20 as a placemaking in Oslo tool

Encouraging exploration and play in underused public spaces: An activity trail.

The manual on how to create an activity trail aims at creating a place people can be active and playful in. It’s a tool to engage people in exploring a place and was developed under the Covid-19 pandemic. It describes all the steps it takes for you to realize your activity trail in your neighbourhood. The tool also includes some background on why Nabolagshager and Oslo Living Lab decided on developing the tool in Oslo. Download the free activity trail tool manual here.

Activity Trail at Linderud placemaking with Oslo Living Lab youth and the Nabolagshager team
credit Nabolagshager

Light intervention Handbook

The Light Interventions Handbook details all the steps to successfully build light installations! It includes how to use a projector, build content, planning and goal making steps, as well as how to reflect and take the intervention’s outcomes forward.

Light installation at H20 placemaking with Oslo Living Lab

In winter 2019/2020, the Oslo School of Architecture and Design masters students Ann-Kristin Eriksen, Chia Han Hsiao, Ørjan Laxaa in collaboration with Nabolagshager and Oslo Living Lab under the PlaceCity Project designed and executed a light intervention in Grønland, Oslo. To do this, the team strategized an intervention involving light as a co-creation design process to empower youth to take ownership of their schoolyard and experience a sense of belonging.
Design students made a projection trolley to make it easier to transport the equipment and created a handbook on how to make light installations with a projector and simple materials. Both the projection trolley and the handbook will help youth to continue exploring the field of light installations and motivate them to design and execute by themselves future light interventions at the school. At the end of the project, design students and youth set up the light installation at Hersleb’s schoolyard, creating a unique, and fully-customized space for high school students, teachers and passers-by.

Pop-up cafe tool manual

We had the pleasure to collaborate with Paco Inclán, the developer of the pop-up café idea. Pop-up cafes are an easy and fun way to engage with your local community and a great way to get in touch with the people living and using the neighborhood. The pop-up cafe tool manual walks you through all the steps it takes for you to organize your event. You can realize a pop-up cafe with two chairs and a bit of coffee or create a theme pop-up cafe street party. Read the manual and get started to meet and enjoy time with your local community.

We organized a variety of pop-up cafes and pop-up street parties in collaboration with Oslo Living Lab youth and H20, a local high school. All the learnings and the experience are compiled in the free manual. The local community’s feedback was positive and the organizing team was delighted ower creating a temporary happy place for people to gather, meet, enjoy some great food and music and talk to their neighbors.

Pop-up street party 
pop-up café 
placemaking event with Nabolagshager
Pop-up cafe at H20

Plant and Seed Swap tool

One of our most popular tools to engage and collaborate with our local community are are plant and seed swaps. We have gathered all our experience in this free booklet. The free manual will walk you through all steps of how to organize a plant or seed swap and provide you with information on how you can engage your community in the best way. You will learn about how this is a great way to explore sharing economy and how saving seeds is a political act. We also have a section about troubleshooting and some pro tips from our experience so your swap will be a joyful and smooth experience. We share some tips for seasonal swaps and community engagement ranging from collaborations to communication. We hope you get inspired and we would love to hear all about your plant or seed swap event!

plant and seed swap hosted by Nabolagshager as a placemaking and community engagement tool
Placemaking Publications

Påvirk – Stedskaping i skolegården fra a til å

Påvirk is a handbook written in collaboration with the student council at Hersleb VGS, a high school located in central Oslo. The publication provides insights in how high school students and school staff can develop a placemaking process in their schoolyard. It walks you through all steps of the process from the research, to funding, to developing ideas, communication and evaluation. The handbook provides key learnings of the PlaceCity and Liv i Skolegården projects at Hersleb high school and got kindly funded through the JPI – Urban Europe Frame by the Norwegian Research Council, Bomiljøtilskudd Tøyen and Grønland, and Sparebankstiftelsen DNB. You can get your free copy of the handbook here.

Exploring Placemaking in Context – ebook

The exploring placemaking in context eBook is a collaboration among the PlaceCity project partners. It describes placemaking practices, tools, challenges in Oslo, and Vienna. Several placemaking heroes and their stories are presented and the history of placemaking in both cities. Get a free copy of the Exploring Placemaking in context booklet here.

Exploring Placemaking in Oslo publication
Exploring Placemaking In Context booklet

Local Business Compass

Learn about business models and placemaking in Oslo and read about inspiring projects that think sustainable and long-term.
You will learn about how sustainable business cases linked to placemaking can look like and learn about the business model canvas and triple bottom line. Get your free copy of the booklet here.

Placemaking and sustainable business publication cover by Nabolagshager
Local Business Compass – Exploring Placemaking and sustainable business cases in Oslo. Credit cover picture: Bakr Magrabi (Pexels)