While placemaking and community building efforts are encouraged and valued by most developers and local authorities, much of the community work is taken on by people who do not live in the neighborhood. Our placemakers are committed to being invested members of the community. They live alongside the people in the target neighbourhood and experience all the challenges and joys that place has to offer. This gives them a pronounced advantage. They constantly take the pulse of the community and know what is most wanted and needed. It also allows for initiatives to emerge from the ground up rather than imposed from well meaning outsiders. This is grassroots placemaking.
What do placemakers do?
Placemakers cultivate neighbourliness and community. Developers and governments are increasingly aware a neighbourhood is more than the built environment. An enriched, healthy, safe, and fun place to live will always involve connected neighbours. That’s where we come in. Through genuine concern, rigorous research, and careful planning our placemakers create opportunities for neighbours to know and trust one another. This means sharing streets, footpaths, and parks. It also means keeping an eye out for one another and as well as allowing each person to find their place in neighbourhood. There are no obligations for residents to be involved at any level, just opportunities to belong and feel good about the place where they live.
How we do it
In Situ– our placemakers live alongside the people in the neighbourhood and experience all the challenges and joys that place has to offer.
Our framework is asset based Community Development which empowers local residents to create their preferred futures.
In partnership with local residents we will:
- Employ, support and train community-based placemakers to create public spaces that promote the health, happiness and well-being of individuals in particular localities across the State of Victoria
- Provide skills training for local people experiencing unemployment to improve their chances of employment
- Facilitate and provide community meals in localities to feed those in need
- Develop and encourage community gardens in localities to promote interactions that connect people and address loneliness, isolation, dislocation, poverty and social exclusion
- Address isolation and loneliness through positive use of places in local communities and through engaging residents in localities
- Promote multicultural understanding and integration through promoting interactions in local communities
- Address food insecurity issues of people experiencing poverty in localities by providing access to food preparation skills
- Provide employment and training services for unemployed people in localities
- Connect people in need of welfare and socialisation to community hubs and facilities, especially those individuals that are unemployed or marginalised, enabling them to achieve a sense of belonging to the community
Place Manager: Jono Ingram
Jono’s primary role is placemaking in the new Woodlea estate in the suburb of Aintree, in Melbourne’s North West growth corridor. Jono’s experience has been in small rural communities and regional centres which has seen him work with youth and families in public housing estates, primary schools in areas of welfare and wellbeing, and in the development of community gardens. Jono’s interest in community gardens and urban farming has displayed itself in a desire to see communities play a vital role in producing their own local, fresh produce in a sustainable way. This has seen initiatives such as local neighbourhood food and swaps, and the development of seasonal vegetable stalls from community gardens and growing spaces.
Jono’s key responsibilities at Aintree involve:
- First and foremost listening to and empowering the local community!
- Activating the Community Garden (Vegie Patch) at the rear of Sales Office
- Facilitating the Community Pizza Nights
- Facilitating regular Neighbourhood Catch Ups around the Woodlea Park Neighbourhoods (ie neighbourhood BBQs in the park), this includes new resident welcomes
- Supporting Woodlea staff with the delivery of Welcome Packs to new residents.
- Jono also populates the famous Woodlea Weather Facebook page
NORLANE COMMUNITY INITIATIVES
Place Manager: Simon Reeves
The Norlane area enjoyed its heyday in the 1960s as a busy working class neighbourhood housing workers from nearby factories. When manufacturing industries went into decline in the 1970s, hundreds of Norlane residents lost their jobs and many are now in long-term unemployment and generational poverty.
Grassroots Placemakers partners with the work of Norlane Community Initiatives by supporting Simon to coordinate and integrate many placemaking opportunities including:
- Monday Neighbourhood Community Meal
- Tuesday Mens Breakfast
- Wednesday Neighbourhood Community Meal
- Unearthed Community Leadership Training Program
- Peoples Pantry Cooperative (55 members in the cooperative)
- Social events for Longroom Community
Simon also supervises placemakers at the Baptcare Robin Ave Affordable Housing site in Norlane that has 52 houses on site.
BAPTCARE AFFORDABLE HOUSING – WANGARATTA
Placemakers: Bernard & Linda Blumel
Linda and Bernard Blumel moved into Swan Court in 2016 as Placemakers. Swan Court is an affordable housing development consisting of 27 units, 11 of which were built in the 1990’s. The 16 new units were built by Baptcare Affordable Housing. The residents consist of young families, singles and the elderly. The Blumel’s goal is to provide the opportunity for all residents to experience a sense of belonging and social inclusion. To walk alongside them and to enable them to reach their full potential and provide a place to be heard.
Specifically they assist:
Tenants with applications to access Government/medical services which helps reduce stress levels by explaining complicated processes.
Elderly tenants with transport, accompanying them to medical appointments, enabling a tenant to remain independent in their own home for longer and feel supported.
Organise communal BBQ’s, Morning & Afternoon Tea’s at the communal pavilion, named by tenants as “The Shed” and celebrate special days eg. Australia Day, to encourage social inclusion and overcome loneliness.
Celebrate significant events, eg. tenant’s birthdays and anniversaries
Assist elderly tenants with IT related issues.
Provide opportunities to use talents and abilities eg. Community garden, so that tenants gain a sense of fulfilment and self-worth.
Grassroots is currently developing a plan in partnership with Now and Not Yet to deliver placemaking initiatives with Mirvac at Olivine… stay tuned!
Brent has almost 20 years of community development and placemaking experience. He has an Honours degree in Social Science and has recently studied Urban Design at Deakin University. Brent spent significant time with Urban Seed pioneering and managing social inclusion projects and social enterprise initiatives in areas of generational poverty.
To contact Grassroots Placemakers, fill in the form below or contact Brent directly on email@example.com