Home' Commercial : Commercial Building and Design 2013 Contents 112 SCOOP Commercial Building & Design 2013
illiam Whyte, the ‘godfather’
of place making and author of
The Social Life of Small Urban
Spaces once remarked, “It is
difficult to design a space that
will not attract people. What is remarkable is how
often this has been accomplished.”
The global trend of place making, which some
liken to the sustainability movement of the 1990s,
sees newly created urban environments being
designed to attract people to spend time in them.
As recently as five years ago, the move towards
more open spaces simply wasn’t a priority,
with place making seen as a niche speciality
for developers looking for a point of difference.
But with the obvious benefits to making and
owning these types of spaces, the philosophy
has now gone mainstream.
Place making goes hand-in-hand with
increasing urban populations. The creation of
open spaces that people will enjoy, means people
will want to live, shop and dine near them,
and will ultimately spread the word about their
experiences, thereby increasing the demand for
residential and commercial properties. A place that
attracts a diverse population offers opportunities
to meet new people and feel connected to the
community, which in turn can foster a sense
Sense of place
Kylie Legge, place maker and
author of Doing it Differently,
discusses why creating magnetic
places isn’t just the responsibility
of government and the corporate
sector – we all have a role in it.
of care and responsibility in residents, and
perpetuate the growth and appeal of the area.
To an extent, the state government land
agencies in Australia have been leading the way,
however corporate developers aren’t getting left
behind. Nearly all the majors have now engaged
place makers to work on their projects.
Interestingly, for those working on new
inner urban or transport-oriented projects, the
focus is often on providing the safe, friendly,
family-oriented environment associated with
the suburbs, in order to attract new markets to
apartment developments. On the other hand,
those companies working on more traditional,
residential subdivisions are aiming to increase
the overall amenity of area, concentrating on
activities within walkable catchments – to make
them more ‘urban’, if you will.
Whatever the economic incentives behind
place making, the benefits are very real for both the
developers and the future residents of their projects.
For endeavours such as Landcorp’s Cockburn
Coast project, a place making approach has been
integrated into the planning process from early on.
It served to align team members and stakeholders
alike around a common understanding. Two teams
were tasked to work simultaneously – one on the
‘hard infrastructure’ of roads, lot sizes, open
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