“I came to placemaking because I believe we can fix this stuff; we can make good buildings, we can make nice parks, but we are not winning the sustainability journey. We need to actually get to the hearts and heads of people, and you do that by connecting people to place.” – Dr. Dominique Hes
Our journey started at the end of 2016 by the call from place-making stakeholders for greater capacity in delivering place-making in Australia. The Myer Foundation first approached Dr Carolyn Whitzman and then Dr Dominique Hes with a query:
“What is it that we are teaching graduate students on creating and delivering place-based projects and what are the opportunities for capacity building on placemaking?”
Funded by The Myer Foundation, we co-organised a workshop with industry and researchers at various universities (Place Agency consortium) to explore and brainstorm what placemaking is in theory and in practice. The workshop was a 2-day event, held at the University of Melbourne (30th-31st October 2017), where day one explored; the meaning of placemaking, the present day needs of industry, and identified the skill gaps existing within practice. Day 2 carried the previous days learnings and explored the future direction of placemaking and explored how might industry and academia work together to further develop placemaking. If you would like to see the slide deck from the workshop, download here. Following the workshop, each of the universities spent a year developing their own teaching modules around 11 thematic areas identified by the workshop.
The Teaching resources of Subject Guide and Subject Modules are aimed at academics wanting to teach Placemaking to Built Environment students. It is aimed at Masters or Graduate students through with modification could be taught to Undergraduates.
Here you can access:
Here is the outline of the subject and its components as developed for teaching it as an intensive across 11 days at the University of Melbourne.
Here you will find 12 modules developed to be taught as part of the subject. This includes learning guide, activities, suggested readings and assessments. This add to 10 hours of content for the students for each module to download.
Here are case studies from 5 states and an outline on how to connect to universities to set up a studio for your project.
Place Agency Approach
The Place Agency approach has two parts, the modules with theory and practice content and the Sandbox studios that support students and industry to create places together.
The modules allow masters or graduate students to learn by engaging with content co-created with placemakers and leading academics. Where possible connecting this with an existing local community and designing a placemaking project that responds to local needs, assets and opportunities through sandbox studios.
Place Agency has created an inclusive process of modules and design studios that can empower local communities to co-create a place that is: resilient, connects to local nature and culture, and increases community physical and mental health. You can choose to incorporate as much or as little as you like into your own curriculum.
Place Agency is supporting the development of skills for students of architecture, planning, urban design and landscape architecture, through in-depth theory and practice led approaches. We use a head, heart and hand model. The educational methodology was guided by the insights of placemaking practitioners combined with the academic rigour of the consortium of universities, funded by Myer Foundation.
Place Agency has created a suite of educational modules and practice-based programs on placemaking and place development for graduate level students and early-career placemakers.
“To welcome (people) into decision-making is a first step for giving agency and igniting stewardship for the community to want to care for and enrich place.”
“I learned about how placemaking can draw from Aboriginal ideas of Country, where the relationship with place and people is symbiotic.”
“As an architect in training, I have always understood the importance of maintaining and affording connection of people to the built environment. This subject has not only bolstered that understanding, but also shed light on the requirement for the connection of place to its context, in both a physical and non-physical sense.”
“Going forward as a placemaking agent, I hope to…foster care and understanding between communities, government, developers, designers and other professions in the built environment to create meaningful place.”
“The main aha moment for me was how lacking a lot of the places we have in society are in terms of truly achieving a sense of ‘place’. The fact that place is not achieved through simply just adding in activations, artwork or activities, but rather the deep-rooted connection it has to people, community and the narrative/story."
“One can learn through experiencing real–life issues and challenges, and be exposed to placemaking strategy that might be useful in the future”
"The group project is based on a real case that is going on. It is awesome to allow us to apply theories to practice."
"The subject helps us to learn about placemaking step by step, daily reading and journal are very helpful."
Nature is critical to the wellbeing of the community, Place Agency gives you the tools to integrate nature in your placemaking practice and work on an irresistible narrative for your place.
Place Agency provides a co-created set of 12 modules including slides, reading, teaching guide and activities
Place Agency delivers a quantum of ideas, images, narratives and concepts which you can draw from to lead to a more diverse set of options, with ideas, fun and playful engagement.
Places are layered with stories from the distant, recent and emerging times, Place Agency supports the integration of these ideas, the key is the integration of nature and Indigenous perspectives of place giving voice to all.
Placemaking supports the potential health of the community, its economy and its enviroment, it brings energy, purpose to projects through focusing on creating relationships between people, place and the environment.
Place Agency has a process through which you can get a group of students (usually 10-20) involved with your project, read the case studies and connect with your local university. This aligns the project with a university, increases capacity to do engagement plus it will give you access to a pool of talent while not raising community expectation.