tree yarn bombing creative placemaking diy urbanism
Creative placemaking includes community driven changes like yarn-bombing. Image – Canva.
  • Four types of placemaking include creative, standard, tactical, and strategic
  • Research will assist in creating qualitative assessments of the intangible
  • Research group spans NSW and includes Landcom

“In one room you wouldn’t find 10 people who could tell you the same thing about placemaking”, Dr Michael Cohen told The Property Tribune.

The uncertainty seemed unusual, but with research conducted by a number of researchers across New South Wales, along with a new tool developed by those researchers for NSW Government’s land and property development organisation, Landcom, that seems to be changing.

Defining identity

Creative placemaking is a subset of the broader concept of placemaking. Dr Cathy Smith said the four types commonly used today include: creative, tactical, strategic, and standard.

The team of researchers which included Dr Michael Cohen, Associate Professor Thayaparan Gajendran, Dr Justine Lloyd, Dr Kim Maund, and Dr Cathy Smith, explained tactical placemaking involved community-driven interventions to the local environment, one example included DIY urbanism.

“During Covid you and your neighbours might be sick of people tearing up and down your street and you decide it’s unsafe for your kids to play around there, so you put a bunch of pot plants in the middle of the street for cars to drive around”

Dr Michael Cohen, City People

Strategic placemaking sees larger projects like train stations, and other infrastructure projects within its scope, essentially changing how a town or city functions.

Standard placemaking could be considered the ‘behind the scenes’ activity, including construction and maintenance for physical infrastructure in public and semi-public environments, like shopping centres, and can include smaller activities.

tree yarn bombing creative placemaking
One example of community driven creative placemaking includes “yarn bombing”. Image – Canva.

“It could include booking someone to perform at a shopping centre to something simple like mowing the lawn”.

Dr Cathy Smith, UNSW

Finally, creative placemaking is how a space comes alive, finds its identity, and develops a personality that keeps people coming back or even becoming residents.

Dr Cohen said, “Creative can be community-led, but generally carries an arts or creative agenda. It might include something simple like a book library on the corner of the street to popup art or a mural on a wall with a visiting artist or a festival.”

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