What is Place Making and why does it matter?

Place making is a collaborative approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. It capitalises on a local assets and potential, to create public spaces that promote community health, happiness and well-being.

Why does it matter?

Meaningful places are those that people love. They reflect the needs of people who live there, sustain the business communities that work there and capture the hearts of the people that visit them.

Built form, infrastructure, urban design, open space, arts and cultural interpretation are among the many important components of place making, buts its people who are central to and its people who give a place life.  

By creating opportunities for neighbours to form bonds in local parks, on the streets, at café’s, shops, or local facilities, people develop an emotional connection to place. They feel a sense of belonging which inspires a sense of ownership.

By empowering communities to shape their own places and help their fellow community members we build civic pride and social responsibility which in turn creates happier more connected citizens.


What principles guide our approach to Place Making?

Place making led projects may be delivered at a range of scales, ranging from a strategic masterplan with a large scale vision and diverse stakeholders, to group of neighbours working together to creatively decorate their front fences. Regardless of the scale the following principles apply.

Community is the Expert

Only those who inhabit the place can fully appreciate its unique local heritage, character, culture, strengths and opportunities.  Gaining those insights at the beginning provides the foundation.

Collaborate

Find the organisation, the business or the person with the energy, the spark, the idea and the drive. Partner with them to build capacity, vested interests create incentive.

Have a Vision

Create a vision built on the strength of the place that can harness energy and build relationships. Understanding the culture, the heritage and how the locals see the place must underpin this vision.

Resourceful and Flexible

Demonstrate how the vision can be achieved without funding.  Seek to minimise regulation through creative thinking. When facing roadblocks be resilient and maintain focus on “how can we make this happen?”

Create a Place not a Design

Great places are more than the sum of their parts.  The goal is to create a place that houses a strong sense of community and unique identity.  Design, setting, activities and uses are part of the puzzle but not the goal.

Be Sustainable

Great places must consider environmental sustainability outcomes in design and operation.  Even prior to this, a decision to ‘renew’ or ‘upgrade’ a public space, or the degree of intervention proposed, will have sustainability implications. 

Create precedents

Be innovative, brave, strategic and tactical looking for new opportunities to reinforce the vision.


Who is responsible for delivering Place Making?

We believe collaboration is at the heart of Place Making. Community members and stakeholders have an equal stake and shared role and responsibilities in helping to shape places people love in Charles Sturt.

Ask not what Council can do for you, but what you can do for fellow community members.

No two place making projects will be the same. Hence the roles that Council, communities and stakeholders have in each project will vary. 

Councils role may include:

  • Adviser – provides advice to assist in the planning of a project
  • Advocate – advocates internally within Council administration and other levels of Government of behalf of the project and its stakeholders
  • Enabler - assists to identifying grant funding opportunities, minimise red tape/regulations and connecting people to others with common interests and goals.
  • Deliverer – resource, plans and implements project initiatives
  • Co-Deliverer – partners with stakeholders to resource, plan and implement project initiatives
  • Activator of space – plans and implements place activation events and activities
  • Promoter – undertakes promotions of project initiatives and activities

Communities and stakeholders role may include:

  • Adviser – provides advice to assist in the planning of a project
  • Deliverer – resource, plans and implements project initiatives
  • Co-Deliverer – partners with stakeholders to resource, plan and implement project initiatives
  • Activator of space – plans and implements place activation events and activities
  • Promoter – undertakes promotions of project initiatives and activities


How can I get involved?

Are you a person with energy and drive? Do you have a great idea for your local area? Then get in contact with one of our Place Leaders today! Their contact details are available here