the salt model

You can't work with place when you think in 2D, place is a connected and dynamic system.

Bricks and mortar make a space, but people make a place. Space is easy to measure and map, but places have meaning and dynamics that determine all sorts of social, cultural, environmental and economic outcomes.

Community-led placemaking is what happens when local people work together to shape their place for the benefit of all. But the outcomes depend on how you do it. The advantage of seeing places as systems is that you can be much more strategic about the work you do. Great placemaking projects are like Trojan horses for the changes we really want to see.

Five ingredients you need to get your place system humming

Shaping place isn’t just about branding, repositioning, promotion, activation, gap projects, tactical urbanism, murals, campaigns, economic development, grants or good luck.

Whatever the project you are aiming to build these capacities:

1: Strong social capital
2: Shared values
3: Authenticity
4: Hyperlocal place-governance
5: Human and financial capital

Awesome placemaking initiatives are asset-based and community-led

They could be:

  • A body corporate getting behind an artistic vision for a blank wall
  • A co-created welcome pack for visitors or a community housewarming party
  • A PPP-supported community-led property development for a unique new destination, affordable housing and/or artist accommodation
  • Or a legacy project – a nuclear powerhouse for urban regeneration

They aren't "anywhere projects, externally led, siloed or generally lacking in a theory of change:

  • Plop art
  • Top down tactical urbanism projects
  • Or uncoordinated funding support to groups with competing agendas

Success looks like this

A place with these five qualities linked into a positive feedback loop:

1: Multiple hard and soft assets
2: Cohesive Community of Place
3: Strong identity
4: Vibrant destination
5: Thriving local economy

This is a regenerative neighbourhood.