Public spaces don’t need to be elaborate to be effective at bringing people together. Activating a space can be as simple as planting a patch of grass or setting a few chairs out. The idea is to make it clear that the space is there for everyone to enjoy and then step back and let it happen.

But what if a public space wasn’t tethered to a particular location? What if it could be wheeled around and placed anywhere? Interesting idea, yes? A team in Turin, Italy created just such as thing. Dubbed the Mobile Urban Square, this fancy bit of design and construction is essentially mobile street furniture that can be moved around as desired.

Moving the Mobile Urban Square into place

The result of a “self-built” design workshop organized by Izmo and Progetto Leonia, two Italian organizations focused on participatory processes and reuse, the Mobile Urban Square was created collaboratively and made from reused materials. It features plenty of places to sit down, bright colors, interesting shapes, a tree, and what looks to be a stage; definitely the makings of an inviting hub for humans.

An exercise in design, collaboration, sustainability and the commons, the workshop facilitated the transformation of a hodgepodge of materials and ideas into a placemaking tool. Then the makers of the square wheeled it into Porta Palazzo and watched as people gathered, relaxed, played, visited and activated the space.

Cat Johnson


Cat Johnson | |

Cat Johnson is a content strategist and teacher helping community builders create strong brands. A longtime writer, marketing pro and coworking leader, Cat is the founder of Coworking Convos and