Ginninderra News

25 Jan 2018

Making Ginninderra a great place

In essence, ‘placemaking’ is about creating high quality places for people to live, work and play. Our vision is to use placemaking to increasingly engage our community in creating and evolving the place that is Ginninderra.

Most people can think of a place where they like to spend time, visit or live. Equally there are places that are widely disliked and disparaged.

What makes a great place? How can you make a good place better? These are questions that urban planners and designers have long been occupied with, leading to an evolving focus on placemaking.

“Placemaking is a multi-layered, people-focused approach to planning and urban design of the public realm,” according to Urban Placemaker with CSIRO Ginninderra, Zillah Gisz.

“Placemaking is about understanding and drawing together the unique qualities of a place, including the social, environmental, physical, historical and aspirational attributes,” says Zillah. It’s about human-centred design and making sure we put people at the front of our considerations.”

While Ginninderra is a science-led development that will trial and apply innovation and new technologies, placemaking will be essential to make it a great place to live, according to Zillah.

“Placemaking is about respecting the past, as we plan for the future. At Ginninderra we are connecting with the site’s indigenous, European, agricultural and science history, as well as the surrounding neighbourhoods and the broader regional context.”

The tradition of placemaking is well established globally with organisations like the US-based Project for Public Spaces (PPS) set up to help people create and sustain public spaces that build strong communities. PPS is a ‘hub of the global Placemaking movement, connecting people to ideas, resources, expertise, and partners who see place as the key to addressing our greatest challenges.’  One of its catch phrases is ‘it takes a place to create a community and a community to create a place.’

PPS has developed the Place diagram (above) as a tool to help people discuss, create and evaluate places.

Placemaking is being embraced elsewhere in the ACT, for example, by the City Renewal Authority with its vision of ‘creating a vibrant city heart through the delivery of design-led, people-focused urban renewal.’

Greenfield sites like Ginninderra lack constraints imposed by existing buildings or infrastructure.  As a site close to the city and predominately surrounded by urbanised land, Ginninderra is ideally situated to be woven into Canberra’s urban fabric.

“Ginninderra presents great opportunities to build links with surrounding communities and to draw upon the talents, potential, and interests of those communities in helping to establish the future community,” says Zillah

“The natural environment, including recognisable geographic landmarks and features can be celebrated through sensitive urban design and can contribute to a strong sense of place,” says Zillah.

Community collaboration is vital to building a new community and developing frameworks for ongoing community cohesion. “Our tree-planting activities aim to restore box gum woodlands, but also build community interest and develop a sense of ownership, value and respect for the place.”

“Through a purposeful approach to placemaking at Ginninderra, we hope to inspire urban planning and design, which is not only about science and innovation, but as much about people and place.”

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