Access is as much about economics and cultural patterns of use as circulation and transportation...

Low, Taplin & Scheld, authors Rethinking Urban Parks


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Optimism & persistence key to place making

In 2015 I learned that this job does not get any easier. Reading back over my end of year wrap up from 2014, I was reminded how I felt that I had experienced a baptism of fire in my first year as a placemaking consultant. Well, that feeling hasn’t subsided – perhaps the burner has even gone up a bit.

I learned that when you face a task that you have no idea how to do, the worst thing you can do is not even try. You might not know where to start or what resources are there to help you, but at least start by doing. You will most likely encounter setbacks and your confidence may drop, but persistence is much more valuable than surrender.

Take our Broome project for example. Our mandate at Place Partners was to build community in a new housing estate that will eventually double the population of Broome. We have been running events and activities over the last three years to encourage residents to get to know each other and establish networks and partnerships with existing organisations. We’ve run events that have had zero attendance and we had endured periods where we questioned the overall impact of the program. Yet, at the conclusion of 2015, we have just come back from our most successful large event and feedback has been that we have truly been part of helping this community become more resilient and connected.

Optimism and persistence are key. For when you think that you aren’t making a difference, it’s the small wins and gradual cultural change that are required to build critical mass for measurable impact. Making cities better for people cannot be achieved overnight, but improvement will never occur if you give up at the first hurdle. - Chris Patfield