Re-New Old Perth Road
- This is the time for Old Perth Road
- History: Strategies and Planning for Old Perth Road
- Future: Place Making for Old Perth Road
- The Program & how it works
Here at the Council we receive regular comments from community members and visitors saying how special our town centre is. Where many Perth residents are only able to use a modern style shopping centre which is the clone of shopping centres everywhere without any unique and local feel about it, Bassendean has this original streetscape which only exists here.
Old Perth Road is part of the DNA of Bassendean. The heritage and fabric of Bassendean is best seen and appreciated when standing on Old Perth Road between Guildford Rd and Wilson St.
Here you can still see the original architecture from when the street was still the main road out to Midland and beyond. It still has that feel of being a country town and the separate shops are unique and have individual character about them.
While the Town has done a number of things to address activation up to now these have principally focused on planning, zoning and regulations.
The Town Centre Area Strategy in 2008 was commissioned by the Council to understand how the under-utilised and ‘poorly’ performing land areas in the town centre could be made to work better and assist in revitalising the town. Through this work the Town better understands issues of connectivity that will strengthen the retail viability while preserving the built form character of the Town Centre.
Old Perth Road is more than real estate, it is the social and historical hub with a combination of personal and social values and stories, it is a meeting place that belongs to the community and seen as defining where they live and call home.
The success of the Old Perth Road Markets illustrates the enthusiasm of the Community and desire for greater effort to be directed into the rejuvenation of their town. The success of the markets can be interpreted as a desire to see a balance of commercial, cultural and social values. Many comparative locations have gone through a period of low economic activity and investment, and through community engagement and facilitation, have reversed the decline.
As a logical progression from the amendments and changes to the Local Planning Strategy the Town is initiating a Place Making program which brings the social values and the needs of the community to the fore. It raises the importance of their participation and collaboration. Place Making goes beyond the built form and focuses on what is unique and interesting about the street. It makes it a more fun place to work, walk, shop and gather.
After wide spread research over the last five months the Town of Bassendean has engaged the services of Creative Communities International, to develop a Place Making – Town Activation Program focussing on Old Perth Road between Guildford Rd and Wilson St.
The principal of Creative Communities is David Engwicht who has established a reputation as one of Australia’s most inventive thinkers on creating vibrant public spaces. He’s highly regarded by his peers including Project for Public Spaces based in New York. He has been very active in the Mainstreet Australia movement for over a decade and he set up Creative Communities International as an incubator for social innovation which works to build the capacity of citizens and cities to create vibrant neighbourhoods.
For more information and biography of David Engwicht please refer to Project for Public Places.
The program works like this:
- Creative Communities have produced Place Making DIY kits and as the name implies, they place the onus and responsibility on the community. The community develop Place Making ideas themselves. According to David, here in Bassendean we have done all the planning and strategising we need, it is now time for action!
- David Engwicht facilitates a public launch of the program. This is happening on Thursday 21 March at the Bassendean Hotel.
- This launch is a loosely structured meeting, more like a workshop than a meeting. It is designed to get the creative juices running. Working with the DIY Kits, David explains the potential of Place Making. He uses lots of examples of where it has been done. The Launch gives retailers, community members and landowners lots of information and lots of ideas about what they can do to revitalise the street.
- At the launch the participants are guided and encouraged to come up with small projects that they would like to see or to happen on the street. If those attending start to get a little excited about participating and being committed they are then encouraged to pull together an action group.
- Each member of the action group gets a DIY Kit which gives them the tools to begin using place making as a tool for improving the social & economic life of the street. They get 12 weeks to do their first project.
- The first project is always something small. It could be decorating the median strip or enhancing the public garbage bin out the front. It is unfunded with the emphasis on the community resourcing the project themselves with Council restricting itself to providing permission and logistical support. The program stresses there are many things that can be done that do not require permission, things that can be done instantly, with resources already to hand. David describes this point as moving the community away from the customer model to the citizen model.
- At the completion of this first project we give the action group a “prize”. The action group is able to adopt either a larger ‘partnership project’ or the Town can hand over total control of projects to the community, what David Engwicht calls ‘Hands off Projects’
The Economic Development Officer is the coordinator of the program. However he is backed up by an Internal Action group. This could be better called a Technical Advisory Group. The group consists of Manager Development Services, Manager Asset Services and Manager Community Development. This group also acts as a Red Tape Reduction Group to simplify the process in getting your project done. Additionally, the program will run with full support from Creative Communities for one year.