Why do urban design projects fail? Is it because we don't have the skills required for placemaking?
Image: this is a good example of a streetscape project which may not have met expectations? I understand that the Council has intiated a placemaking strategy due to the vacancy of shops in this street. According to Bike SA it is to be closed from the end of July for a six month trial - "The removal of car parking directly outside a business is still one of the elephants in the room when it comes to encouraging more people to cycle and walk. Recent work in Melbourne has shown that more and more small business owners are advocating for increased on-road bicycle parking to be provided by absorbing vehicle parking bays - why? Because those businesses have realised that people who walk and ride to their shopping 'experiences' do so more frequently and often linger and spend more."
Posted by: Andrew Hammonds
One of the challenges of placemaking is to understand the problem of a place - before deciding on the strategy for the solution. How many times have we spent big budgets on urban design or streetscape strategies with mixed results?
This Place-skills mind-map (download pdf 32kb) helped me prepare for a presentation to the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA QLD) on urban design. I believe that placemaking requires at least four skills starting with enabling. Urban design may not come into play until Place Strategies:
1 Place 'enabler'
- "to make able; give power, means, competence, or ability to; authorize"
- paradigm shift - “Traffic is a civil problem not a design problem” David Engwicht
- enabling place customers and owners to create place
- public + private spaces
- places designed to be flexible
- existing as well as new places
- temporary uses + places
2. Place facilitator
- "to make easier or less difficult; help forward (an action, a process, etc.)"
- problem before a strategy
- process is important
- emotional intelligence
- working with people
3. Place strategist
- do nothing
- urban design
4. Place Designer
- "to plan and fashion artistically or skilfully."
- to intend for a definite purpose"
- urban design focus
- design training or aptitude
- form and function
- New (hard) Infrastructure
- Social Fabric (Soft Infrastructure)
- places for people
Wednesday 1 August, 2012