Placemaking as an Approach to Collaborative and Participatory Urban Design

5th International Urban Design ConferenceDr Susie Molony will present the findings from a collaborative research project involving researchers at RMIT University and Places Victoria.

In its transition to the Victorian State Government’s Urban Renewal Authority, Places Victoria has had an opportunity to rethink its approach to project delivery and design. In focusing on mixed use and residential redevelopments, placemaking has been identified as a useful approach to guide design and project delivery.

To assist in applying placemaking in practice, RMIT University was commissioned to research the principles and practice of placemaking which involved a review of the urban design and placemaking literature and international case studies as well as carrying out interviews and workshops with staff and project teams. Presented here are some of the outcomes from that research including a set of principles to guide practice.

While there is no one-size-fits all approach to creating great places, a growing body of literature shows that great places are those that provide the opportunity for a diverse range of experiences and activities and ultimately contribute to improving the quality of life for all those who experience and use them.

Placemaking is understood as being as much about the social production and use of place as it is about the physical manifestation of its built form and design (Healey 2010). In this light, it is important that placemakers pay close attention to who is involved in the creation of places, what role they play, what values and objectives guide decision-making and what mechanisms are used to deliver on them. To create diverse, sustainable, vibrant, inclusive, accessible and well-designed places requires co-ordinated, multi-stakeholder processes.

As Places Victoria seeks to be ‘not just a developer but a placemaker’, this will require strong political and institutional support for the principles of placemaking both internal and external to the organisation.

Dr Susie Moloney, Research Fellow, RMIT University, Australian Housing and Urban Research Centre, Melbourne, VIC will speak at the 5th International Urban Design Conference – The Hilton on the Park, Melbourne, Australia from the 10th to the 12th of September – 2012

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