When you’re into place making like I am, visiting cities and towns in other parts of Australia provides a great opportunity to expand your knowledge of what makes places tick and gather up some images and examples of what’s possible, exciting or interesting. I thought I’d share a few snaps of some of the things that inspired me during a recent trip to Canberra to speak at a community garden conference and visits to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. They just might inspire you too!
Love the solar panels on the roof of this church in the suburb of O’Connor in Canberra. Great example of how form and function can be successfully combined to add a quirky, interesting element to a local area. Cute.
Developing a community garden or another type of community place? These gloves provide an example of how really simple elements can add personality to a place, making it more attractive for people.
There’s lot of beauty in community gardens (like these lovely leeks). Can you perhaps design seating areas or gathering places that maximise opportunities to sit back and soak up the beautiful elements of the public space you’re working on?
Or maybe you have a spectacular view of your surroundings (like this view of our national parliament from the Cook Community Garden) that you can make the most of? A seat, a sign, a viewing platform or even providing some binoculars would all provide a simple invitation for people to stop and notice what’s special about this place.
Ah, public artwork that you can interact with, it’s so great isn’t it? If you’re a drover on Brisbane’s city streets, be sure to watch out for small children with umbrellas! This artwork was originally created as part of a temporary exhibit at Brisbane’s Expo in 1988, but was later re-cast and installed on the street as a permanent feature. Perhaps there are some temporary artworks in your local area that could become permanent, endearing aspects of the place-scape?
When is Perth getting it’s own ‘citycycle’ network (like the one in Brisbane’s CBD)? Hopefully soon. While we’re at it, a car sharing vehicle parked at each of Perth’s train station would be awesome too. Is it easy for people to get to (and get around in) the community place that you’re working on? Improving accessibility will increase use of your place and introducing sustainability measures will build the resilience or your place.
These local residents of Obi Obi Creek in Maleny, Queensland, remind me of how important it is to think about the non-human users of our public spaces and to find ways to make our community places welcoming and safe for our furry, feathered and slippery friends. What’s the ecology of your public space? How can your place making activities enhance biodiversity, provide habitats for wildlife or help to reconnect people with the natural environment and systems?
Have you been travelling recently and been inspired by places you’ve visited? Send me a postcard with your ideas or, better yet, write a comment and share your thoughts with everyone.