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Moving from Place-telling to Place-doing

Written by Andrew Hammonds on .

Today’s most successful businesses are storydoers. When it comes to making places is your organisation a 'teller' or a 'doer'?

Written by: Andrew Hammonds

Thanks to: True Story: How to Combine Story and Action to Transform Your Businesswww.storydoing.com and Mind Tools

1 Hartopp Lane, Kelvin Grove Urban Village, Brisbane, QLD, AUS. According to the designer (Arkhefield), the Brisbane Housing Company's brief was "to empower people through a positive living experience”


The old way to market a business was storytelling. But Red Bull, Shaklee, Grind, TOMS Shoes, and News Corporation have shown that simply communicating a brand’s story - in the hope that customers will listen - is no longer enough. Instead, the story is evident in every action undertaken.

We've previously made a connection between brand and places in our article - Eight Global Trends influencing Placemaking.  

If you belong to a Council, development company or consultancy (or some Government Departments) then you are part of a placemaking organisation. Do your actions reinforce the place story?

In our article Police - building on their vision, we've shown that organisations can reinforce or undermine their core mission and values though their buildings.

Do the users of your buildings, streets, squares and centres want places which are derived from an authentic and meaningful story? Than tell it through action, not just policies, strategies and regulations.

In True Story, Ty Montague argues that any organisation, regardless of size or industry, can embrace the principles of storydoing. In doing so they will also be nimble, more adaptive to change, and more efficient.

So how do we organize around a coherent narrative, or story, that is broadcasted through every action we take.

Montague introduces five critical elements—what he calls the “the four truths and the action map”—that are the foundation of storydoing:

Stevenson Lane (I think?), Melbourne, VIC, AUS. The City of Melbourne recognises the importance of street art in contributing to a vibrant urban culture. Enabling doing rather than telling?1. The participants (your customers, partners, and employees)

The best 'story-doing' organisations create a narrative that people can participate in. In placemaking this would include the users of a place - visitors, residents workers, owners, etc. As well as employees of the organisation which influence the place. 

2. The protagonist (your company today)

A good narrative needs an appealing protagonist that has a quest that the participants can relate to. Let's not forget the clearly defined enemy. You need to understand what the protagonist is for, but you also need to understand who the protagonist is struggling against. In Placemaking this might be a Councillor with a quest to "make (insert local centre) vital". The enemy might be youth un-employment.

3. The stage (the world around your business)

What do you understand about the place context and environment - eg place characteristics, technology and culture. How well do you understand your participants. What's going on with the people who will use your place? What are they trying to accomplish in their lives?

4. The quest (your driving ambition and contribution to the world)

The quest is ultimately the engine of any organisation which transcends everything it does. It's critical for the quest and the metastory be used actively within the business as everyday tools. In Placemaking this might be a developer with a quest to "bring streets back to people". The enemy might be child obesity?

5. Your action map (the actions that will make your story real for participants)

Build an action map based on the elements - offer, identity, capabilities, and culture. Offer - how is the meta-story impacting the way that you design and build your places? Capabilities - making your metastory true through internal and external people and skills. Culture - how is your metastory being expressed internally? Are you rewarding people who express the narrative and celebrating those actions when they occur in your culture? Are you making sure that your intention is aligned with your actions internally? Identity - is your corporate identity in line with your metastory? Are your communications in line?

To test this concept I have applied it to Macgregor Tce - in our article What's your Place Story?

View our presentation on Slideshare.

Is your Placemaking organisation a Place Teller or a Place Doer?


Written: Wednesday 5 February, 2014

Additional Information

Placemaking and Urban Design 101Place Roles

Additional Articles

Development Assessment or Place Enabling?;Ten Questions to focus a career in Urban Design + PlacemakingThe Art of Placemaking - it's an attitudeBeing yourself - better places through organisational authenticityLocal Business partnering to create better PlacesA Bias Towards ActionWith placemaking on the rise should we forget urban design? Are you a Placemaker or a Placemanager? 


Want to learn more? 

Placefocus offers Australia's only Online Course "Introduction to Urban Design and Placemaking".  This 4 week course is an efficient and interactive learning unit that is available anywhere and anytime.  A leading edge, self paced experience that incorporates group discussions, video presentation, expert interviews, relevant Australian images, best practice examples, field study, mental maps... For more information, click here.

Want to keep intouch with regular case studies, news, and views on current urban design and placemaking projects and practices?  Subscribe to our fortnightly PlacePost to receive content direct to your inbox, or follow Placefocus on Facebook and LinkedIn.  For more information, click here.

 


We generate discussion among participants in our training courses in urban design and placemaking. While there are common qualities to the places we like, our own views matter. As suggested by participants, we have started this blog to continue this discussion on-line. The Comments section at the bottom of each article provides the opportunity, so don't be bashful. Particularly if you disagree with us!

Add a comment
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The 4 skills of placemaking

Written by Andrew Hammonds on .

Why do some urban design projects fail? Is it because we don't have the skills required for placemaking?

Geelong Youth Activity Precinct, Geelong, Victoria, AUS - this popular facility is the thoughtful solution to a foreshore missing teenage activities.

Posted by: Andrew Hammonds


One of the challenges of placemaking is to understand the problem of a place - before deciding on the strategy to solve it. How many times have we spent big budgets on urban design or streetscape strategies with mixed results?

The Geelong Youth Activities Area (YAA) is a public recreational plaza at Western Beach adjacent to the Geelong CBD. The design brief developed from detailed analysis and discussions with stakeholders and potential users. Consequently, it is a flexible, multi-purpose outdoor youth-focussed area that contains open-air spaces suitable for a range of activities and events. These include - markets, live music, art exhibitions, catwalk, dance, street theatre, BMX riding, basketball, skate boarding, interactive media, wireless internet and seating.

James St, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, QLD, AUS. My girls loved playing on this relatively simple place. Just grass, water, seats and trees. Surrounded by active building edges.

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.

It seems that Placemaking requires at least four skills, often applied sequentially. So you might apply enabling skills before design skills.

One of my assumptions is that participants have been given power or authority to influence.

1 Place 'enabler' skills

Enable place participants (users, traders, residents, etc) to create their own place:

  • by definition "to make able; give power, means, competence, or ability to; authorize"
  • active listening
  • humble enquiry - ask instead of tell
  • ask the right questions at the right time
  • seek ideas from the participants
  • networking
  • communication

Outcome: Places designed to be flexible and changed by participants.

2. Place facilitator skills

Helping others to create better places:

  • by definition "to make easier or less difficult; help forward (an action, a process, etc.)"
  • facilitator not expert
  • problem interrogation before strategy
  • transparent process is important
  • emotional intelligence

3. Place strategist skills

Using conceptual thinking to create something from nothing.

  • think about the future instead of the present
  • make decisions based on incomplete information, with confidence
  • A Bias Towards Action
  • blue sky thinking
  • networking
  • looking for synergy
  • early wins - eg pop-up placemaking

4. Place Designer skills

Specifying the properties of tangible objects.

  • By definition "to plan and fashion artistically or skilfully" or "to intend for a definite purpose"
  • urban design skills and understanding
  • appreciating form and function
  • designing of new (hard) Infrastructure
  • sustaining the Social Fabric (Soft Infrastructure)
  • designing places for people

What do you think? Am I missing any? Can one person have all these skills?


Updated: Thursday 6 February, 2014

Written: Wednesday 1 August, 2012

Additional Information

Placemaking and Urban Design 101Place RolesPlace Tools, The Brief

Additional Articles

Development Assessment or Place Enabling?; Ten Questions to focus a career in Urban Design + PlacemakingThe Art of Placemaking - it's an attitudeBeing yourself - better places through organisational authenticityLocal Business partnering to create better PlacesA Bias Towards ActionWith placemaking on the rise should we forget urban design? Are you a Placemaker or a Placemanager? 


Want to learn more? 

Placefocus offers Australia's only Online Course "Introduction to Urban Design and Placemaking".  This 4 week course is an efficient and interactive learning unit that is available anywhere and anytime.  A leading edge, self paced experience that incorporates group discussions, video presentation, expert interviews, relevant Australian images, best practice examples, field study, mental maps... For more information, click here.

Want to keep intouch with regular case studies, news, and views on current urban design and placemaking projects and practices?  Subscribe to our fortnightly PlacePost to receive content direct to your inbox, or follow Placefocus on Facebook and LinkedIn.  For more information, click here.

 


We generate discussion among participants in our training courses in urban design and placemaking. While there are common qualities to the places we like, our own views matter. As suggested by participants, we have started this blog to continue this discussion on-line. The Comments section at the bottom of each article provides the opportunity, so don't be bashful. Particularly if you disagree with us!

Add a comment
Print

Are you a Placemaker or a Placemanager?

Written by Andrew Hammonds on .

Ideally both is my answer to this question from participants in our training courses on urban design and placemaking

Written by: Andrew Hammonds

Image Claisebrook Cove, East Perth, WA, AUS: an impressive new place designed and delivered by 'Placemakers'. Has a 'Placemanager' been involved in the process as well?


Placemakers

Placemakers help create or renew public streets, squares and other public places to meet and exceed user requirements.

They enter into this role with experience in:

  1. providing place skills: enabling, facilitating, strategising, designing, delivering and managing; (see our blog )
  2. coordinating social fabric: the events, shops, services, activities, etc which attract the people to the places;
  3. designing place infrastructure: the design of streets, buildings and the places between them - as well as urban infrastructure (busways, roads, bridges etc). and
  4. planning place strategies: walkability, transport, business development, environmental, housing affordability, agriculture, etc.

As few of us come to Placemaking with all of these specialities we need to work collaboratively. See our recent PlacePost No 5 - With placemaking on the rise should we forget urban design? For example, developers bring a user focus. They have a detailed understanding of designing and delivering infrastructure but may need to review their assumptions when it comes to creating place.

According to Elio Gatti

"Placemaking has a broader scope than urban design. Behind urban design there is a collective of interdisciplinary specialists in the field. Behind the concept of placemaking there are the voices and perspectives of a whole community. Not relegated to a passive consultation process, but actively engaged in the design concepts and outcomes."

Image Federation Square, Melbourne, VIC, AUS: I assume that Placemanagers are active in this place coordinating events, traders, markets, art... and collecting the chairs at the end of the day!

Placemanagers

Placemanagers are Placemakers responsible for converting a space into place – with meaning and identity. An exciting and developing role.

They work with locals to convert streets into main streets, squares into celebration places or shopping centres into town centres.  Their understanding of the context helps them develop an authentic aspiration to uniquely position the place. They utilise place skills to develop and deliver strategies to realise this vision – which will include a mix of social fabric, place infrastructure and place strategies.

In most cases their goal is to enable the shopkeepers and the residents, workers and other users of place to ultimately take over their role. So they need to involve these people in the process from day one. This is certainly the case for most streets and parks. Our higher order places - centres, squares, piazzas and plazas - will need on-going support and coordination.

Based on my discussions with Placemanagers you probably have detailed experience in delivering social fabric but might need to up-skill on place infrastructure and place strategies.

But we want to know what you think.  How do you view your role, your skills and your experience?


Updated: Friday, 7 February, 2013

Written: Tuesday, 26 November, 2013

Additional Information

Place UsersPsycho-graphic profilingPlacemaking and Urban Design 101Place RolesPlace Tools,

Additional Articles

BIDS - Business Partnering to create PlacesUser is king in urban design and placemakingWith placemaking on the rise should we forget urban design?Six opportunities to improve our places through prototypingGood Placemaking Recognizes What We Inherently Know About SpacesDevelopment Assessment or Place Enabling?


Want to learn more? 

Placefocus offers Australia's only Online Course "Introduction to Urban Design and Placemaking".  This 4 week course is an efficient and interactive learning unit that is available anywhere and anytime.  A leading edge, self paced experience that incorporates group discussions, video presentation, expert interviews, relevant Australian images, best practice examples, field study, mental maps... For more information, click here.

Want to keep intouch with regular case studies, news, and views on current urban design and placemaking projects and practices?  Subscribe to our fortnightly PlacePost to receive content direct to your inbox, or follow Placefocus on Facebook and LinkedIn.  For more information, click here.


We generate discussion among participants in our training courses in urban design and placemaking. While there are common qualities to the places we like, our own views matter. As suggested by participants, we have started this blog to continue this discussion on-line. The Comments section at the bottom of each article provides the opportunity, so don't be bashful. Particularly if you disagree with us!

Add a comment
Print

"Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty

Written by Andrew Hammonds on .

Music plays an important part in our life - as do streets and cities. It's no surprise then to discover songs about places. So we thought we would create The Placefocus Mix. Adding a song every fortnight.

Written by: Andrew Hammonds

Thanks to: AZLyrics

Watch on YouTube: "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty.

Baker St, London (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fo6aKnRnBxM).


"This city desert makes you feel so cold
It's got so many people, but it's got no soul"

Does your city or place have soul?

"Baker Street" is a ballad written and first recorded by Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty. Released as a single in 1978, it reached No. 1 in Canada, No. 2 in the United States, No. 3 in the United Kingdom and No. 1 in Australia. Okay I love the famous saxophone riff, played by Raphael Ravenscroft!

Named after the famous London street, the song was on Rafferty's second solo album, City to City. According to Rafferty "everybody was suing each other, so I spent a lot of time on the overnight train from Glasgow to London for meetings with lawyers. I knew a guy who lived in a little flat off Baker Street. We'd sit and chat or play guitar there through the night."

Thanks to Wikipedia for some detail on Baker Street in the Marylebone district of the City of Westminster in London. It is named after builder William Baker, who laid the street out in the 18th century. The street is most famous for its connection to the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, who lives at a fictional 221B Baker Street address. The area was originally high class residential, but now is mainly occupied by commercial premises. The street is served by the London Underground by Baker Street tube station, one of the world's oldest surviving underground stations. 

Interestingly, Rafferty's first major musical partnership was with comedian Billy Connolly in a two-piece band playing social clubs in the Clyde, Scotland. 


The not so famous Bakers Lane, Wyong, NSW, AUS."Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty.

Winding your way down on Baker Street
Light in your head and dead on your feet
Well, another crazy day
You'll drink the night away
And forget about everything
This city desert makes you feel so cold
It's got so many people, but it's got no soul
And it's taken you so long
To find out you were wrong
When you thought it held everything

You used to think that it was so easy
You used to say that it was so easy
But you're trying, you're trying now
Another year and then you'd be happy
Just one more year and then you'd be happy
But you're crying, you're crying now

Way down the street there's a light in his place
He opens the door, he's got that look on his face
And he asks you where you've been
You tell him who you've seen
And you talk about anything
He's got this dream about buying some land
He's gonna give up the booze and the one-night stands
And then he'll settle down
In some quiet little town
And forget about everything

But you know he'll always keep moving
You know he's never gonna stop moving
'Cause he's rolling, he's the rolling stone
And when you wake up, it's a new morning
The sun is shining, it's a new morning
And you're going, you're going home

Do you have any suggestions for songs about streets, places and cities? 


Written: Wednesday 5 February, 2014

Additional Information

The Placefocus Mix - songs about street, places and citiesPlace Links

Additional Articles

Adelaide by Paul Kelly"Streets of Your Town" by The Go-Betweens"Town Called Malice" by The Jam'Saturday Night' by Cold Chisel'Dirty Old Town' by The Pogues'Walk on the Wild Side' by Lou Reed'City of Light' by the Hilltop Hoods;


Want to learn more? 

Placefocus offers Australia's only Online Course "Introduction to Urban Design and Placemaking".  This 4 week course is an efficient and interactive learning unit that is available anywhere and anytime.  A leading edge, self paced experience that incorporates group discussions, video presentation, expert interviews, relevant Australian images, best practice examples, field study, mental maps... For more information, click here.

Want to keep intouch with regular case studies, news, and views on current urban design and placemaking projects and practices?  Subscribe to our fortnightly PlacePost to receive content direct to your inbox, or follow Placefocus on Facebook and LinkedIn.  For more information, click here.

 


We generate discussion among participants in our training courses in urban design and placemaking. While there are common qualities to the places we like, our own views matter. As suggested by participants, we have started this blog to continue this discussion on-line. The Comments section at the bottom of each article provides the opportunity, so don't be bashful. Particularly if you disagree with us!

Add a comment
Print

'City of Light' by the Hilltop Hoods

Written by Andrew Hammonds on .

Music plays an important part in our life - as do streets and cities. It's no surprise then to discover songs about places. So we thought we would create The Placefocus Mix. Adding a song every fortnight.

Written by: Andrew Hammonds

Thanks to: AZLyrics

Watch on YouTube: 'City of Light' by the Hilltop Hoods with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra

Anster St Adelaide SA AUS - a great example of graffiti as street art. Even though this wall might look pretty good as is...


Hilltop Hoods are an Australian hip hop group formed in 1991 in Adelaide, South Australia. What is it with Adelaide? This is the second (less than flattering) song in the The Placefocus Mix about this city:

"Known as the city of churches home of the serial killer,
And in the summer it feels like a hundred degrees"

I'm a fan of Aussie Hip Hop - music from the streets. Even the groups name relates to place. According to Wikipedia two of Hilltop Hoods' founders first met in 1987. MC Suffa (aka Matthew David Lambert) and MC Pressure (Daniel Howe Smith) both attended Blackwood High School in Eden Hills. Also known by locals as the Hilltop.

Adelaide, SA, AUS - unfortunately there are too many walls and spaces like this that need graffitiThose that follow me on Instagram know I'm a big fan of streetart - including graffiti (not tagging). There's probably another article on this. Particularly when this form of street art makes an contribution to the blank walls of our cities...

"Cans and markers, Country Road parkers,
Hands of an artist left the landscape enchanted,
Until the government pigs had all the paint washed,
From our city walls, end of the renaissance,
And so the walls where the colours once played,
Were replaced by the buff, now a sullen blunt grey,
White washed, shitty, all grey, all black,
Waiting for the kids of this city to take their walls back."


Caxton St, Brisbane, QLD, AUS - I believe this is commissioned street-art, rather than 'graffiti'? 'City of Light' by the Hilltop Hoods

[Verse 1 – Suffa]
I'm from the city of light, with a sky of vanilla,
Known as the city of churches home of the serial killer,
And in the summer it feels like a hundred degrees,
Where I'm from you might see Suffa MC,
Walking the traps trying to escape the map,
Ninety one was my s**t I'm trying to take it back,
To when writers ran the line and transits ran the gambit,
My memories the paint, let the track be my canvas,
Thirteen sitting in a park, sipping wine casks,
Watching whole cars as they went flying past,
I couldn't paint so I rhymed to the writers,
They'd laugh, light up a smoke, and get blinded by their lighters,
‘Nasty Arts' ran my line evading cop cars,
And we looked up to them like they were rock stars,
Paint stained hands and fame like Manson,
That's Charles not Marilyn, a city held to ransom,
Cans and markers, Country Road parkers,
Hands of an artist left the landscape enchanted,
Until the government pigs had all the paint washed,
From our city walls, end of the renaissance,
And so the walls where the colours once played,
Were replaced by the buff, now a sullen blunt grey,
White washed, shitty, all grey, all black,
Waiting for the kids of this city to take their walls back.

Sparta Place, Melbourne, VIC, AUS[Verse 2 - Pressure]
I'm from the city of light, with a sky of vanilla,
Known as the city of churches home of the serial killer,
And in the winter, the city sleeps dead in the freeze,
Where I'm from you might see Pressure MC,
Walking the traps trying to escape the map,
Ninety three was my shit I'm trying to take it back,
Got kicked out of school but I would have left in time,
With nothing but an ego and rap to get me by,
I swept floors, packed orders, when poor racked from Porters,
Liquor store just to score me a four track recorder,
Fifteen, sneaking in the back door to the gig,
Thought I could rip, bro trust me I fought for this shit,
Cos the city's darker than a starless night,
And treats a starter like a fresh piece of meat, greet the carving knife,
Till the day came when I'd scar consortiums,
I'd lay waiting, train stations and parks my audience,
Before we had our beats made, before we had a DJ,
We'd rock to a beat box, before that shit was clichéd,
You see mate, I refused to lay low and gave those,
Better years of my life to pave roads,
Live as hell, we did it by ourselves,
The only secret to this shit is one that time will tell,
So breathe in cos the city invites, jealously, pity and blight,
You're in the city of light.

Do you have any suggestions for songs about streets, places and cities? 


Written: Tuesday 26 November, 2013

Additional Information

The Placefocus Mix - songs about street, places and citiesPlace Links

Additional Articles

Adelaide by Paul Kelly"Streets of Your Town" by The Go-Betweens"Town Called Malice" by The Jam'Saturday Night' by Cold Chisel'Dirty Old Town' by The Pogues'Walk on the Wild Side' by Lou Reed"Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty


Want to learn more? 

Placefocus offers Australia's only Online Course "Introduction to Urban Design and Placemaking".  This 4 week course is an efficient and interactive learning unit that is available anywhere and anytime.  A leading edge, self paced experience that incorporates group discussions, video presentation, expert interviews, relevant Australian images, best practice examples, field study, mental maps... For more information, click here.

Want to keep intouch with regular case studies, news, and views on current urban design and placemaking projects and practices?  Subscribe to our fortnightly PlacePost to receive content direct to your inbox, or follow Placefocus on Facebook and LinkedIn.  For more information, click here.

 


We generate discussion among participants in our training courses in urban design and placemaking. While there are common qualities to the places we like, our own views matter. As suggested by participants, we have started this blog to continue this discussion on-line. The Comments section at the bottom of each article provides the opportunity, so don't be bashful. Particularly if you disagree with us!

 

 

 

Add a comment

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