Placemaking and Semi-private/ Semi-public Space
On a larger scale, placemaking refers to the design and use of public space to make the most of the community’s assets and promote the health, happiness, and wellbeing of the people. When we narrow the scope down to the neighbourhoods and suburban streets, we start to look at semi-private/ semi-public space. These spaces can be created by blurring the line between your property and the public-owned road.
For example, the road, the footpath, and the nature strip in front of your home are public, and your home, front yard, and perimeter of your property are private. You can create a semi-public space by decorating the footpath and nature strip to create a sense of ownership for the people living around that space. You can create a semi-private space by opening up your front yard and driveway for use by trusted neighbours and friends. You can even make public spaces more welcoming for everyone in the neighbourhood by beautifying local parks or holding street play days on the road.
How do we do Placemaking in Living Streets?
While placemaking may seem like a big and complicated task, there are many things you can do to make a “place” out of your own street, neighbourhood, and community. There are so many little things you can do to create a welcoming sense of community that inspires a culture of meeting your neighbours, sharing resources, and connecting with one another. Read on below to see the different types of placemaking that we have trialled, and can be done by anyone in public, semi-public, and semi-private spaces!
Beautifying Public Spaces
When community members get together to beautify their public community spaces like with chalk drawings, flowerbeds, statues, and decorations, people feel welcomed to stay and mingle there. Nature strips, neighbourhood playgrounds, bushwalking paths, roads, local shops can all become gathering points for neighbours.
Fruit trees, vegetables planted on your nature strip, or community garden beds allow everyone to help take care of a space together and share the fruits of hard work.
The distinction between private front yard space and public footpaths and roads can be blurred by placing chairs and tables, barbecues, firepits, lights or shaded seating areas in the front of your house. Any piece of shared furniture that creates an inviting feeling to spaces can generate more community interaction.
Reclaiming suburban streets for children’s play is easy once you have established a culture of outdoor play on the roads and verges. Swing sets, toy libraries, trampolines, slides, street book libraries, and any other play equipment attract children onto the street to play.