Five Placemaking Projects that Empower Community Engagement

Effective placemaking initiatives arise from the collaborative visions shared by government staff and community members. This is accomplished through co-designing and actively participating in the planning stages of a project. So, join us as we explore five inspiring placemaking project examples that empower community engagement.

These five initiatives benefit local residents’ specific needs and interests and help beautify our neighbourhoods for increased tourism for future visitors and residing community members for years to come. Each project is a living testament to the transformative power of thoughtful placemaking. They empower residents to shape their surroundings and cultivate a sense of belonging and ownership.

Here’s our round-up of five placemaking community engagement examples to draw some inspiration from:

  1. Informing Residents of New Precincts in a City Centre
  2. Neighbourhood Activity Centre
  3. Long-Term Frameworks
  4. Community’s collective vision
  5. Enhancements for a Park
City of Kalgoorlie Boulder | Kal City Centre

1. Informing Residents of New Precincts in a City Centre

The City of Kalgoorlie Boulder had embarked on a multi-million dollar project to revitalize key precincts within the Kalgoorlie Central Business District in St Barbara’s Square. Kalgoorlie’s goal for Kal City Centre was to create vibrant, economically robust, and diverse spaces that would help benefit community members within the area.

To keep the community informed about the new precinct features, Kalgoorlie utilized various visual elements including a Photo Gallery showcasing a bird’s-eye view of St Barbara’s Square, a video, Feature Grids, and a Newsfeed for project updates. To further engage residents, Kalgoorlie has included a Call to Action button, prompting community members to subscribe and stay updated on the project’s progress.

Wyndham City Coast County | Neighbourhood Activity Centre

2. Neighbourhood Activity Centre

The Woodville Neighbourhood Activity Centre (NAC) in Wyndham is an established hub featuring a local shopping centre, schools, open spaces, and recreational facilities. However, it lacks a vision or guidelines for its operations and future growth. To help address this, Wyndham City Council worked towards a Woodville Place Plan and sought input from residents, businesses, and visitors to shape the area’s future.

Wyndham has since released the draft of the Woodville Place Plan and has encouraged locals to participate through different engagement tool methods. For instance, by utilizing the Form tool, Wyndham asked residents to read and submit their feedback on the plan. Wyndham also displayed the objectives and actions of the plan in a visually engaging format to simplify information and reduce text-heavy content. In addition, Wyndham utilized a Quick Poll as an easy way to get real-time responses from community members by asking them the following question: ‘How do you rate the plans for our Draft Woodville Place Plan?’.

Wyndham had also expanded its engagement efforts by making its engagement site multilingual, allowing residents to translate the content on the page according to their preferred language. This initiative aims to enhance accessibility and inclusivity, ensuring that all residents can easily engage with the information and have their say in community discussions regardless of their language proficiency.

City of Port Phillip | South Melbourne Structure Plan

3. Long Term Frameworks

The City of Port Phillip has prepared a new draft for its South Melbourne Structure Plan to help establish a long term vision for the next 20 years of South Melbourne. This plan will also be used to identify actions to manage change and help respond to challenges such as climate change, population growth and COVID-19.

As a way to educate and inform residents of the plan for the long-term framework, Port Phillip has utilized the Hotspot tool to help indicate to residents where the four precincts have been identified to deliver place-specific outcomes for South Melbourne. By clicking on each dot, members can view further information on the specific recommendations of each precinct as a way to help reduce text heavy content on the page. The City has also used other elements such as FAQ’s, a Document Library, and Facts cards as a way to provide further information to residents.

City of Boroondarra | Glenferrie Place Plan

4. Community’s Collective Vision

The City of Boroondarra created a ‘Glenferrie Place Plan’ to help guide the future revitalisation of the Glenferrie precinct in Hawthorn. As a product of closing the loop, this plan showcases extensive community feedback, research and analysis. It features urban greening and sustainable transport, arts events and smart technology, sports, recreation and revitalised laneways, tapping into what’s special about Glenferrie and its community.

As part of the Glenferrie Place Plan, Boroondara has utilized engagement tools like Feature Grids to highlight the nine initiatives and showcase the community’s shared vision for Glenferrie. By leveraging this engagement tool, Boroondara encourages residents to explore the plan visually, enabling them to delve deeper into information regarding their specific needs and interests.

Boroondara has also utilized the Timeline tool and a Follow button, encouraging residents to keep up to date with the long-term plan.

City of San Diego | Balboa Park Priortization Framework

5. Enhancements for an Ideal Park

The City of San Diego’s Parks and Recreation Department has engaged AEA Consulting to develop a Prioritization Framework for future Balboa Park capital projects, to inform future decision-making and provide better alignment between available resources and what residents want to experience when they visit.

Using a mixture of online and in-person engagement to seek input from the community, San Diego utilized digital tools such as the Social Map, where they asked residents the following question – “Where would you like to see improvements in Balboa Park?”. This allowed residents to add a marker to specific locations of the map and add a comment with what they would like to see renovated or enhanced. As a result of their engagement efforts, San Diego garned over 400 contributions!

San Diego had also used the Gather tool to ask for additional feedback which encouraged residents to either add a comment or a photo to share their story. Along with the Fund It tool by using the posints system to get community members to vote on ‘Which draft criteria do you want to prioritize?’.

The City of Holdfast Bay | Parklets

Bonus Project: Low Barrier Engagement

Here’s a bonus project, which highlights one of our predicted community engagement trends for 2024; low barrier engagement. The City of Holdfast Bay have been engaging the community on what they think about ‘Parklets’. Parklets are little pop-up spaces that utilise one or two car parking spaces to extend the public realm. For example extra seating for a cafe, the installation for a popular food truck or safe lock up spaces for bicycles.

In this project Holdfast have utilised two engagement tools, timed how long each will takes to participate in to respect participants time and given the community the choice on which one suits them for providing feedback. Information is clear and to the point and utilises tools like the Fact Cards and FAQ tool to keep things brief.

These community engagement placemaking projects showcases the power of collaboration and shared input for public participation between government staff and residing residents. By involving community members in the planning and decision-making processes, these initiatives will not only help to support their specific needs and interests, boost tourism and the neigborhood area, but also fostering a sense of ownership and belonging among residents.

As we look ahead to the future of placemaking, these examples serve as inspiring models for empowering communities and creating vibrant, sustainable, and people-centric spaces.


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