Why placemaking for stairs ?

The design of buildings is proven to be able to provide the opportunity to promote regular physical activity. That’s why designers and architects can play an active role in boosting people’s physical activity levels by intentionally designing public spaces, streets, and staircases that entice and encourage people to exercise. This strategy is relevant for new developments, be it a new office, residential buildings or new public spaces. But what to do with already existing stairs?



  • In high-rise buildings, stairs are often locked and difficult to access;
  • Elevators are more prominently placed than stairs;
  • Residential stairs are often plain, boring and not too inviting to use, and residents can see them as a burden to climb rather than a potential way to boost their fitness;
  • Outdoor public stairs may feel dull, unsafe, dirty and similarly discouraging to use.

An answer to the above challenges could be:

Placemaking stairs and transforming them into spaces that are attractive to use - a solution for underused existing stairs. Staircases are sometimes overlooked public spaces that need a touch of tender loving care. Stairs have great potential to become prominent landmarks and places to visit and use by citizens.

With a focus on stair placemaking, the global and European placemaking networks could support the overall goal to improve physical activity levels among various groups of citizens globally.

Placemaking for stairs – next steps

  • Choose a public space with stairs;
  • Re-imagine the space in a way that makes the stairs more visible and prominent with a clear call to action to #UseTheStairs;
  • Share your designs with the #UseTheStairs and #StairsPlacemaking hashtags;
  • If possible, implement your ideas and designs with the public stairs object of your choice. Ensure you have requested all needed permissions to use the public stairs for your activity and always keep in mind the safety of local citizens.

Help us amplify the call to action for the need of more public spaces for leisure and physical activity and support the resolving the inactivity crisis now amplified by COVID lockdowns