Place Making And Urban Design Project

A place has social, political, spatial and temporal characteristics, it’s specialness as opposed to its ordinariness is defined by the interplay of these characteristics.  Place Making is a conscious negotiation of this interplay, to emphasise those elements, or create new elements which are special, positive and unique and understate elements that are negative.  This process has both objective and subjective criteria.  Some elements such as the behaviour of the sun, or whether a place floods can be considered objective criteria, while others such as a the value of an historical monument or the aesthetic value of a garden require subjective judgements.  Place Making as a process is about the way decisions are made regarding both the objective and subjective information.

The reason we say place making is political is because every place has stakeholders and vested interests, whether they be landowners, casual visitors, managers, government officials, traditional owners or private community members.

Our development  of a “Place making” project usually has four parts:

  1. Mapping the natural, historical and cultural features of a place.   Every place has its own stories, its own song, as Aboriginal people would say.  Sometimes important stories, either about earlier ecology of a place or about earlier human stories are almost completely submerged.  In many cases just bringing these to peoples awareness allows these stories and associated artifacts to be reborn.
  2. Working with local people to understand their knowledge and unleash their ideas. We believe the most powerful place making occurs when local people take ownership of a place, the first step is to listen and record what people think or know.
  3. Consultation with community stakeholders using a range of community planning methodologies to collaboratively design or redesign public spaces and buildings and/or activities.  We use two powerful methodologies to support this process, Storyboarding and Community Mapping.
  4. Negotiation of partnerships between different stakeholders to create the new or revived place though the addition, subtraction or modification of physical features and/or activities.

Important Links

Eleven Principles for Creating Great Community Places –

Building Living Neighborhoods –

A place is a space that has a distinct character and story.