2014 Award Recipients

“Creating better public places for people is a complex journey, and, in recognising and celebrating the achievement of our winners, we also elevate the shared mission of our diverse membership – to create better and memorable public places for people”, says Place Leaders Chairman, Peter Smith.

The 2014 Place Practice Award recipient is Moreland City Council in Victoria for its Better Block Brunswick project. The 2014 Place Professionals Award has been made to Sydney-based Place Partners.

Jury chairman, Bob Perry says, “The diversity of projects and perspectives is palpable…. Place making is as much about process as place, and practice methodologies are diverse”.

Place Practice Award

Category Award – Moreland City Council for Better Block Brunswick

The jury felt that this project touched all the bases in affording agency to a community in exploring changes to improve its physical heart.

A catalyst for community energies was the tragic death of Jillian Meagher in 2012/13. Moreland City Council convened community stakeholders and government agencies in a collaborative program to rejuvenate the Jewell Precinct in southern Brunswick, which had become Moreland’s No1 crime hotspot.

A series of physical interventions and events that included colonising parking spaces, a pop-up park, street festivals and art, triggered widespread engagement by the community and its leadership. The jury sensed an almost visceral engagement through the openness of the process.

The project provides clear evidence of the power of place making to unite a community through collaboration. It demonstrates the capacity for local government to ensure breadth and depth of engagement across other agencies and within the community. Simple and inexpensive interventions triggered a shared thinking about the future and galvanised political commitments.

The process of occupying the street forces an engagement that is otherwise left abstract and inert, a plan of good intentions. Experiential engagement begins real change and the Better Block Brunswick project is an exemplar”.

Place Professionals Award

Category Award – Place Partners

Place Partners is a consultancy dedicated to place making. During this past, pioneering decade, the jury felt that place Partners were deserving of endorsement and acknowledgement from within the emerging and growing movement that is place making.

Place Partners demonstrated initiative and commitment in the somewhat barren early years. They bristle with advocacy, they collaborate seamlessly and selflessly and they publish and broadcast their experiences and perspectives through books, presentations and seminars.

The jury understands that consultancy in an emerging field is a tough business proposition and acknowledges the depth of commitment and the stamina required to sustain and grow such an enterprise”.

In response to the announcement of this award, Place Partners’ CEO, Kylie Legge made the following statement: “Place Partners is thrilled to receive the first Place Professionals award. Being a small organisation it can be challenging to get noticed, however, this recognition really does reflect the wider place making tenets that everyone can make a difference. We have always been committed to being more than just a consultancy. The whole team love getting involved in research and making change on the ground… Place making really offers something to everyone whether that be long-term collaboratively driven strategies, or micro place enhancements that make life that little bit better for your community”.

In addition to the two awards, the jury also decided to recognise two other nominations with a Commendation.

Commendation – Place Partners for Penrith Trial Park

The Penrith Trial Park project is a benchmark in design through agency achieving agency through design.

A well-orchestrated process was undertaken to engage the community directly in the design of a built outcome. Workshops with the community resulted in a collaborative collage/plan for a left over triangular space in the city. This was then translated into a physical design by council officers and designers, and then implemented.

The resultant space is green, sunny and equipped with sufficient urban furniture and fixtures to host a variety of social interactions and spontaneous events. A ‘nowhere’ has been transformed into a significant ‘somewhere’.

The strength of this project is in the inclusive process of design decision-making.

Commendation – City of Sydney for The Finegrain Program

“The Finegrain Program is something of a broad retrospective covering a number of individual projects throughout the City of Sydney. The jury was certain that each project probably could tell a unique and interesting story.

The program was designed to discover and dramatise hidden and forgotten qualities in Sydney’s laneways. With an admirable humility by the City of Sydney, the project took its lead from Melbourne’s comprehensive and considered reinvention of its laneways.

While not as extensive as Melbourne’s, Sydney’s laneways nevertheless offered many opportunities for human scaled active places to be reborn. Using interventions of design, art installations and assistance to start-up businesses, 25 different localities were nominated for this award.

The jury would like to encourage the City of Sydney to keep its methodologies alive and visible since its obvious capability could become a source of courage and encouragement for more modest local government initiatives in place making”.