creative placemaking

I went to an interesting talk last night by Paul Carter on “creating place”, part of Massey University’s Blow festival.

Paul is the creative director of Material Thinking.

They have been behind some beautiful and engaging public space projects in Australia.

I was particularly interested in what he said about creative thinking in the planning of new projects. He spoke of getting everyone engaged and open to new (yet old) ideas by appealing to a deeper sense of space than what can be captured in technical drawings. Everyone uses all their available senses to ‘know’ a space. The process of creating space is ongoing, by the people that use it. New developments do well by starting with conversation – gathering the stories and experiences of all users of the space – long before anything is tied down in a plan.

Sharing all the stories of a location, a town, or an institution, stories told in words, images, shapes, movement, or sound can lead to a strong vision for space that transcends the physical. A vision that causes all projects relating to that space to be connected without having to be visually unified (or boring). A vision that more formal historical and cultural contextualisation often lacks.

My question is: how can we get this dream-like method of thinking about space into the reality of the public service planning system?

Discussion (2) ¬

  1. This is a Deleuzian question! Or, at least, it is the kind of question that I often think Deleuze is asking, based on my limited understanding of his texts. Essentially, how do we actually use consciousness?

    I am thinking about this concept of relating without visual unificaction, and based on the above reportage, I do believe use, how those spaces are actually used, is one way to unify. I can’t remember which theorist this is but I remember my friend Costas telling me about him, but supposedly, there is this guy who wrote about cities and said this amazing thing: basically that nobody ever uses cities the way they are designed. Human beings, for whatever reason, resist that authority, forever cutting through allies and across the middle of parks. So what if there WERE no defined walking spaces? Obviously this can’t apply so much to public transport as a train needs an actual track, and also, I suppose buildings have to actual happen, which necessarily creates spaces between them, but…

    I think I have no actual answer! i just really liked this post a lot.

  2. Thanks Robyn.
    One of the great things about walking for me is you can move any which way you like. Interesting urban space provides numerous opportunities to pick another path, or put another way, the more permeable a city space or path network is, the easier and more fun it is to get around. In my opinion walking is the most free of transport modes, in the sense of infinite choices – ideal for adventure and discovery of the world around you, and for picking up on the human scale of things. Walking is entertaining, teaching, rejuvenating and much more than just getting around.

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