Place Making – “My Mum said I have to run around and stuff…”

Elena Kalnin, Victoria, AUSTRALIA 

People make space public. A 
beautiful but empty place is 
not a public space. Whereas 
an impromptu game of 
cricket in a gritty and little 
used laneway makes for an 
example of urban theatre 
and brings into being true 
public space. 
Footscray is old inner city 
suburb of Melbourne located 
on the Maribyrnong River. In 
2009 Footscray celebrated 
its 150th year. Historically 
this was a place for wharves 
and waterfront industries. 
Settled by consecutive 
waves of migration, these 
continue to determine the 
flavour and language of the 
street. Today, Footscray is a 
multi cultural place, highly 
decorative though not 
particularly refined. The 
streetscape is enchanting in 
a hard working way.
 Central Footscray has been 
selected by the Victorian 
government as one of the 
key locations for 
intensification of use to 
achieve the longer term 
planning goal of 5 million 
people by 2030. This policy 
also funds improvements to 
the urban realm, including a 
major upgrade of the train 
station.
 Recently a range of place 
making activities has been 
carried out to demonstrate 
the capacity of redesigned 
spaces and to seed 
community development. 
These have included urban 
orienteering, Tai Chi and 
Parkour classes, street 
cricket and themed city 
walks. Expenditure on these 
events was minimal in 
relation to capital project 
costs and the achievements 
are wide reaching 
addressing issues of health 
and well being and 
improving perceptions of 
safety. 

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