Place translation strategies: From complex terms to community placemaking.
Placemaking is a process through which the communities have an opportunity to transform a ‘space’ to a ‘place’ in which they have invested personal and shared meanings. Place can emerge from both formal (council or developer led initiatives) or informal (community led activities not requiring formal permits) channels. Formal processes for placemaking often use participatory planning strategies to allow communities to be a part of the design and decision making process. In particular, it is an opportunity for commonly unheard communities to have an active voice into the design of public urban places. Young adults and children belong to this often unheard group. How can placemakers get these groups to be involved, feel empowered and take initiative to shape their neighbourhood? To answer these questions, I participated and observed two placemaking initiatives 1) ‘The Newport Project’ a design studio delivered by the University of Melbourne conducting community engagement and redesign of the Paine reserve in Newport, and 2) ‘play with place’ a two day workshop in partnership with the Carlton Scouts and the University of Melbourne. I documented challenges faced and strategies used to teach the principles of placemaking and to conduct community engagement activities, participatory planning and the implementation of one placemaking intervention. My analysis then focused on the proposal of a strategy to solve some of the issues identified during my observations. It has culminated in the development of a modular model which allows participatory planning to occur through play.