We are extremely proud of the support we received from the community, the relationships we have been able to build, the invisible barriers we have attempted to blur, and the interactive community spaces we have been able to create.
Placemaking is a collaborative approach and can successfully bring about change with the involvement of diverse stakeholders, including communities, experts and governmental bodies at varying stages of the process from inception, consultation and implementation, to evaluation. As young professionals, we were forced to learn the process through “doing” based on trial and error. We were able to gain very little support from state government ministers, as well as other bodies responsible for promoting marginalised communities. This extended our long road to completion.
Our journey opened our eyes to the enormous gap between the ideologies of government agencies in the country’s capital and the visions that we, as young designers and architects, have for our cities. Public officials, community developers, cultural leaders, advocates, and civic groups have opportunities to make an impact on the policy landscape. Adjusting state policies to elevate creative placemaking can create more equitable outcomes and improve the quality of life for residents across the country. Therefore, we as individuals, and more importantly as citizens of this country, need to step up and demand the environment we aspire to live in and work towards achieving them, with or without government support.
As new cities emerge, and older ones grow, it is critical that we give thought to planning and designing their futures. Public space is the great equaliser. The focus should be on including the city’s least-equipped communities in urban design and the process of city planning.