Connecting places, hosts and organizations for positive impact
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a blueprint for peace and prosperity, now and into the future. In support of this momentous movement, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt, the Kamel Lazaar Foundation, and the iac Berlin created a new initiative in 2020: the SDG Places.
SDG Places are physical spaces that are authentic, inspiring and
rooted in the community, and meet the highest standards for hospitality,
comfort and hygiene. Each place is strongly connected to nature, led by
an impact-driven host, and contributes to at least one of the 17
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
iac Berlin served as the initiative’s incubator from 2020-2022.
From the beginning on, the SDG Places initiative was organized around five core beliefs, shared by all parties involved:
- We believe in the power of gathering.
- We believe in the power of community.
- We believe in the power of inspiring places.
- We believe in the power of placemaking.
- We believe in the power of deep connections and authentic relationships.
Hosts support organizations in their program design in order to make events inspiring experiences that are deeply connected to the place and the community. The place and its host cater to the individual needs of the group and event – diversity, inclusion and equity are guiding values in the operation of the places.
On site, facilities are available for meetings, breakouts, workshops, and personal activities. Various spaces encourage unstructured time, building connections with others, and self-reflection, while the technological infrastructure enables physical, hybrid or virtual event hosting and facilitation.
The SDG Places initiative provides a platform to connect unique
places and their extraordinary hosts with organizations that seek to
create positive impact and strive to contribute to a fair, healthy and
Adapting to new challenges
When the SDG Places initiative was founded in 2020, the initiators wanted to create a new way to think about and organize events. They wanted to reach participants’ hearts and minds and unlock their potential to affect change. They believed that by completing the triangle that joined inspiring places with purpose-driven organizations and skillful facilitation, they could create events based on mutual trust that participants could truly connect with and be inspired to change. However in practice, many of their initial assumptions about the balance of power and the impact that events could have on a personal level fell short.
In running their first events, the
organizers of the SDG Places initiative discovered that even
sophisticated event designs are influenced by power-dynamics and an
overwhelmingly western perspective. Thus, they gave their approach a
critical overhaul and eventually succeeded in overcoming these
challenges by partnering with unexpected allies—artists. Here is what happened—and how the SDG Places eventually reached their goals.
SDG Places will be renamed as Somewhere Places in 2023. The Sustainable Development Goals will still be an integral part of the initiative, but the new approach called for a new name. The collaboration between the Community Arts Network and the Somewhere Places Festival provided the ideal motivation for this change.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.” (Find out more)