Placemaking Tools and Tips

Table of Contents

Placemaking is the art of reimagining a space into a place where people love to gather and connect.

CCSA's 7 Principles for Placemaking in Community Centres

There are many models of placemaking being put into practice across the globe. Each of these have their own practice principles and values.

Through our research, CCSA has developed the following principles specifically for the Community Centre and Neighbourhood House sector. From these principles we have also developed a Centre Checklist and Project Ideas handout.

Click on the hotspots below to explore the principles in detail

Centre Checklist

CCSA’s 7 principles have been made into an easy-to-use checklist so that you can assess your centre as you physically explore it. Boxes that are not ticked will give you an idea of what may need attention. Refer to the Placemaking Project Ideas handout for potential ways to address shortfalls.

Continue to consider these principles carefully as changes are made to the centre over time. For example, if a landscaping project is to occur, make sure that the space remains accessible and there is still unobstructed signage and activities. If you can, turn the landscaping project into a placemaking project instead and invite the community to be engaged in the planning and planting!

Placemaking Checklist
Click for Full View

Placemaking Project Ideas

We have identified a number of placemaking projects in line with our principles. Some can be done in an afternoon with a few volunteers and others take a little extra planning.

You will find that some projects are listed twice because they satisfy more than one principle. While your Centre Checklist may your Centre is struggling with one principle, be sure to keep all principles in mind when planning your project.

Top Tips to Get You Started

These tips are inspired by the insights of community centre professionals that engaged with CCSA’s Placemaking Project in 2019. We hope they help you get started with a new placemaking project or rekindle an old one. Thank you to:

  • Annette Cooper – Midway Road Community House
  • Amy Evans – Henley and Grange Community Centre
  • Jane French – Goolwa Community Centre

Click the headings below for more details

This is an essential part of placemaking. You can’t call it placemaking unless you engage with the community to gather project ideas and create projects together. A formal project reference group (PRG) isn’t essential as long as you are doing this much.

Find the people who are committed to your community and centre and engage them from day one. You need people who have the time and drive to help with the “doing.” Recruit more volunteers and explore if Centre participants can incorporate a placemaking activity into their regular activity time.

Really listen to what the community is telling you. It might challenge your view of the Centre, Centre users and the community, but it may provide powerful insight into barriers to engaging with the broader community.

Get experimental and try a range of placemaking ideas – nothing has to be permanent! Trial simple and affordable temporary projects to explore a new look and feel before committing to a more expensive version of the same project.

Attempt to include decision-makers in your PRG so you have a good idea about whether projects are feasible or not. These people might be representatives from the Board, council or your landlord. Understanding these limitations early on will help you to manage expectations throughout the project.

Utilise placemaking alongside your Community Needs Analysis. Use it as a tool to engage with and build or strengthen relationships with groups that are under-represented at your Centre.

Find support either in your local or greater community. Seek out the hidden talents in your centre users, volunteers and staff. Engage local businesses and utilise fundraisers, donations and in-kind support. Be sure to check out The Colour Manifesto and Monica Prichard who we loved working with.

Our Centres are places of light, laughter and inclusiveness – which is an incredible gift to give! Take the time to enjoy this process, others will too because of the joy you put into it first.

Easy Projects

Have a go at some easy and temporary placemaking projects at your Centre. Click below on the ‘How To’ videos for some creative ideas from Di Caught, Creative Placemaker from The Colour Manifesto.

“If you do not step forward you will always be in the same place.”