Maciej Zacher

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I'd rather do small—scale projects than have big plans on paper. Make small changes—one at a time, and by doing this you’ll change the world.


I’m a civil servant, an architect, an urbanist, a lecturer, an activist, and a Placemaker. I work as an urbanist in the Municipality of Skawina. I collaborate with local communities in three main fields: sustainable mobility, urban design, and green-blue infrastructure. I’m especially interested in child-friendly spaces, safe and sustainable school travel, and participatory processes. We use placemaking to build communities around places and places around communities, transforming our municipality from livable to lovable. I like to show our work at various events like Future of Places conferences in Stockholm, Placemaking Week in Amsterdam and Chattanooga, Placemaking Europe in Valencia, Walk Bike Places, WUF 10 Abu Dhabi… and empower local communities all around Poland.

Municipality of Skawina
PlacemakingX Role(s)
Regional Leader
Transformative Agenda Focus
Streets & Transportation
Architecture & Planning

Placemaking is...

a social process, it is not about beautification, it is a bottom-up process, it is where the community is an expert, it means empowerment, it is modesty, it is diversity, it is honesty, it is creativity, and self-agency.

First placemaking encounter

I was introduced to Placemaking by my friend Carlos but was really dragged into the movement by Brenda and Peter during the first Future of Places conference in Stockholm in 2013. There I met many people involved in Placemaking and I also figured out that what we were doing back in Nikiszowiec is precisely what the movement is all about. That was the defining moment for me as a Placemaker.

Favorite childhood place

In the late ‘80, my family lived in a small town in Czechia, and every weekend we went on trips. Mostly to enjoy beautiful Czech towns and castles. I liked it a lot, but I had my own favorites: the trolleybuses of Hradec Králové and Prague metro and trams. That was a lovely time that influenced me greatly. That’s probably why I became an urbanist with a mobility twist.

Favorite Place

Nikiszowiec - the neighborhood where I was born and spent 25 years of my life. That’s a place where I really feel “at home”, where I’m among my people, where I know every street, every gate, every turn… I love the red brick of the walls, and consider local bread the best in the world! I love to show my friends around and share local stories. Being a Nikszowiec local makes me proud and happy!

Fun Fact

I have two amazing daughters Tonia and Zofia, I’m a cycling freak and I love cats :)


That must be taking part in a long process of turning my neighborhood in Katowice from a dilapidated and forgotten working-class area to one of the most popular destinations in the whole region. It took more than 10 years of hard work, persistence, creativity, and cooperation from different actors to see our beloved Nikiszowiec flourish once again. I didn’t play any significant role in it, but as a member of the local association supported my neighbors by organizing competitions for the most beautiful windows, and dog parades, setting walking trails, and selling handmade fridge magnets at local fairs. In 2015 with my family and friends with great help from Brenda Hunt and Peter Groenendaal from Amsterdam, we organised a Placegame. The effects of that event can be seen even today.

Key messages

  1. Ideas are more important than money. You’ll probably never start doing anything if you begin with budget-oriented thinking.
  2. They will always say it cannot be done. Acknowledge it, and then proceed anyway.
  3. Be kind to people and to yourself.
  4. Don’t be such an adult! Be silly, experiment, have fun!
  5. The work is never finished.