‘I’m sorry? Rebuilding relationships and rapport through collaboration with the community’.

Ms Mandy Banks, Senior Urban Designer, Manningham City Council will discuss rebuilding relationships and rapport through collaboration with the community at this year’s 8th International Urban Design Conference.

Abstract: When a community-owned piece of infrastructure was destroyed to make way for a large Council-led project, Council’s urban designers faced some challenges. In the wake of community devastation, how could Council rebuild relationships and rapport with the community to facilitate desirable urban design outcomes? How could Council demonstrate community care without saying ‘I’m sorry’?

This paper explores the strategies employed by Council to rebuild damaged stakeholder relationships through empowerment and the creation of a sense of ownership. It reflects on the experience of initiating a collaborative design approach with community and the effect of this approach on restoring stakeholder relationships – and building new ones.

We will demonstrate how engagement strategies have influenced the design process and expected outcomes whilst generating critical sense of place and pride within the community. Finally, we will show how Council’s experience in rebuilding relationships and rapport with the community can be replicated in other collaborative models and design projects, with analysis of the cost (and abundant other) benefits of employing a collaborative design approach.

For more information on the 8th International Urban Design Conference being held from the 16 – 18 November 2015 and to register, please visit the website here.

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