What are the challenges around creating and managing Australian public spaces? We consider the practices and principles that shape the creation, management and use of our shared spaces.  

Public spaces belong to all of us, yet it's easy to forget they are a result of planning and policy, and subject to a myriad of agendas. Placemakers need to balance building for healthy and caring communities with budget restraints and competing priorities.

Pandemic lockdowns highlighted the work that needs to be done to address inequities and inequalities of public space provisioning. There are also important questions to ask about how privately managed public spaces might impact communities and equality of access.

Community-led initiatives offer a possible alternative model of how public space is maintained and governed. This more informal approach may provide some insights and understanding for how governments and community can work more collaboratively in the management of public spaces.

It's important to consider the values that sit behind ideas of 'good', 'green', 'equitable' and 'quality' in the design of our public spaces. These values influence our ability to access and enjoy public spaces.   

Our project aims to consider how best practice planning, which engages with First Nations peoples and perspectives from the start, can create and sustain great public spaces for all.  What can we learn from community-led initiatives or from informal activations of public space? What sort of research and data will best guide government policy? How can community stakeholders be engaged to help shape the public spaces of the future?

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