PLACEMAKING AT WARRNAMBOOL
Over four days in October, George, Reyne and Rebecca collaborated with the City of Warrnambool to workshop and help realise their placemaking initiatives.
What we did
We participated in workshops, we listened, we brainstormed, we went on walking tours, and we not only came up with ideas, but also thought about the fundamentals to delivering those ideas – who were the stakeholders, the users of those places, what were the risks, how would it be funded, and what were the relevant policy and approval requirements.
What we learnt
The strategic workshops were led by Andrew Hammonds from Place Focus. Andrew guided the group to help develop a broader understanding of the key principles of placemaking and the tools needed to recognise the issues, create the strategy and take action. Andrew reinforced the importance of the relationships between place activation and urban design, noting that one can’t work well without the other – “Urban design is the stage, place activation is the show”.
However, the biggest lesson learnt from the experience is that placemaking and place activation is all about people making places. It’s about empowering and enabling the community, the residents, the users, and the Council to take control of what they want and go for it. This means identifying the issues, the needs and the wants, before forming the strategy. More often than not, planners prepare strategies and design spaces without a full understanding of the underlying community need and then wonder why those spaces are not being used as the design intended, or even being used at all. Placemaking is about taking that next step towards creating places that people want to use.
Where to from here
We came away from the experience a little bit wiser, but more importantly, inspired and excited to assist you in turning your developments in to remarkable places through the implementation of placemaking initiatives. We realise it takes a lot more than the urban form to create such places and activate otherwise unused spaces, and are keen to assist you in working with your community to develop strategies that are relevant and capable of implementation.