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The Place Leaders Awards were co-hosted by Brisbane City Council on 29 February in the Edge Auditorium at the State Library of Queensland. The event celebrated cutting edge innovation and excellence in the place sector, with categories covering projects, processes, leadership, governance, and digital placemaking.


We recognise and congratulate all our Awards Nominees 


The Place Leaders Asia Pacific Awards Program provides a platform for the promotion and celebration of innovation and excellence across a broad field of place focused work.


The awards recognise physical projects, place processes and leadership with six categories of Place Leadership, Place Project Large, Place Project Small, Place Process, Place Governance and Digital Placemaking.


The program highlights the achievements of Place Leaders and the ongoing contribution of their work in delivering successful place outcomes that enrich the life and wellbeing of all communities.


Town of Port Hedland for 'South Hedland Street Art Festival'

The Centrepiece Piece is an award allocated as a Jury’s choice award and is given to the individual or organisation that has displayed overall excellence in placemaking from all categories in Australasia and the Asia Pacific in any given year. In 2023 the Centrepiece Award is given to the South Hedland Street Art Festival, a festival celebrating 50 years since the Gazettal of South Hedland townsite.


Project highlights included: 14 Street Art Murals completed within the South Hedland town centre, 16 local organisations participated as collaborators and decision makers, 200 young people participated, 3 local Aboriginal artists delivered their first public street art commission, 7 First Nations & two multi-cultural stories were told and 1500 people attended the opening event. The objective of the project was to create an even more liveable and loveable South Hedland by creating an authentic narrative and providing the opportunity for everyone to be involved.


The Awards Jury said: 'This is a great project that transferred decision making to local Aboriginal Young People, with tangible outcomes and great engagement. The project has made a real difference to a community facing genuine challenges with a collaborative and inclusive process. Of note was the courageous decision of the Town of Port Hedland to give the project timeline to the community to decide, working at their own pace to engage with their communities and deliver the project.'


HOYNE for 'The Place Economy Series'

This award recognises significant leadership by an individual or a group who has contributed to the advancement of placemaking through raising the national and/or international profile of placemaking. The Awards Jury noted the impressive array of influential contributors from across the global placemaking movement but what set this initiative apart was its scale of influence. Most notably, the Place Economy Series has inspired others by collating best practice case studies and leading industry thinking and research from many different parts of the world to demonstrate the powerful link between visionary placemaking, better performing economies, and happier, healthier human beings. The Place Economy Series serve as playbooks for key decision and policy makers willing to invest more talent, resources and capital into placemaking. Congratulations to Hoyne and The Place Economy series for advancing the awareness and value of placemaking within the community.


Brisbane City Council and Design Brisbane for 'Botanica: Contemporary Art Outside'

Botanica: Contemporary Art Outside is an annual free event that promotes social connection, inclusion, and affirmation of Brisbane as a loveable, liveable City. Botanica (re)imagines, highlights, and engenders a strong sense of place for our City Botanic Gardens, through siteresponsive and participatory artworks over 10 evenings in May. The Awards Jury commends Brisbane City Council and the team behind the outdoor contemporary art festival, Botanica. Attracting over 100,000 visitors in 2023, Botanica temporarily transforms the Brisbane Botanic Gardens through site-responsive and participatory artworks over ten evenings each May. The event was commended in the Place Leadership category due to its high impact on the growing arts and cultural sector of Brisbane, and inspiring artists to create site-specific and thoughtful place transformations, with impact clearly measured, including demonstrated growth over time. Congratulations to Brisbane City Council and the team behind Botanica for a lovely and thoughtful creative event.   


Land Cove Council for 'Wadanggari Park'

Lane Cove Council has created 4,294m2 of new open space ‘out of thin air’. This visionary space, known as Wadanggari Park, involved building a bridge over the rail corridor adjacent to the Pacific Highway. The open space and iconic adventure playground seamlessly connects to the recently opened St Leonards Library, St Leonards train station, retail and a 300-space public underground car park. The Awards Jury recognises the significant effort of Lane Cove Council in driving the long-term collaboration and commitment across diverse agencies and local government areas to create 'something from nothing' at Wadanggari Park, adding much needed and well- located amenity to density near transport infrastructure. This cross-agency collaboration and resilience over a significant period of time to deliver social infrastructure is an excellent demonstration of governance across borders to deliver a high-quality tangible outcome with local character that will become the heart of this growing community.


Place Score’s 'Australian Liveability Census'

The Awards Jury commended Place Score and their ongoing commitment to providing well substantiated human-centric data that provides excellent evidence of what communities want and need. 
The nationally consistent, rigorous and repeatable place-based data generated by Place Score is being used by local and state governments, place managers, developers, and not-for-profits for evidence-based decision-making. Strong 'Place' data helps align stakeholders through a clearer understanding of community values, place performance metrics, and the tools that prioritise place investments that will improve community outcomes. The Liveability Census involved over 60 organisations and 89,000 records directly sourced from the community to provide longitudinal social research. The Awards Jury commends the collaboration and partnership across organisations to generate data for decision-makers by engaging with diverse communities directly impacted by those decisions, delivered consistently across geographies and at scale. There is exciting potential for this body of research to further develop over time, providing direct insights into the changing nature of our communities, allowing industry professionals to deliver tangible outcomes on the ground. 


Activate Darwin for 'Darwin International Laksa Festival'

'Darwin does things differently' - Laksa judge. The NT Government’s Activate Darwin team was recognised by the Awards Jury for the 'Darwin International Laksa Festival'. This Award recognises a specific approach, strategy or program that has contributed to best practice placemaking. Now in its 5th year, the month-long Laksa Festival has found a place in the hearts (and mouths!) of the community, but also displayed real leadership in process. The event celebrates the diverse and unique elements of laksa, the Territorians who now lovingly claim this dish as their own, promotes local eateries in quieter trading seasons, and brings diverse communities together. From the 'Laksa League' App to induction efforts for new members, the Awards Jury was impressed with the high calibre of design and diversity of media, and partnerships with Darwin Waterfront Corporation and City of Darwin to enhance engagement and activations with residents and businesses. 


ACT Suburban Land Agency for 'Whitlam Display Village'

This project process specifically addressed common feedback - that community connection is lacking when it comes to a new greenfield suburban development ... and decided to do something about it. What the Display Village implemented, first and foremost, was human connection through its core vision and a Mingle Community Hub.The Awards Jury commend the early and ongoing support and engagement with Ngunnawal Elders. This place process was a real shift from traditional display villages with team creating a place full of programming and opportunities for human connection.  The Ngunnawal plant-use workshop series was offered free to the community and to all staff.  The Place curator achieved 99 activations hosted with 2,200 attendees. The Heartbeat Cafe as part of the Mingle program and other active opportunities allowed residents to connect and feel purposeful and authentic. The Awards Jury recognise this strong and committed process and systematic end-to-end approach to creating a new place, as well as the tangible outcomes that assist with the establishment of greenfield communities.


Transport for NSW for 'Open Street Program'

Streets are vital public spaces within our towns and cities. They help communities stay, connect, play and participate. They also add vibrancy to neighbourhoods, and create connections for people to socialise, shop, exercise and access services. The Open Streets Program was selected as the winner of the large-scale category in recognition of the broad and enduring impact the program has had in catalysing activation in multiple local government areas to help drive activity at a local level. The strength of the program was the active delivery in partnership with local government and their respective communities. The program enabled locally responsive solutions in collaboration rather than imposing a single solution. The program catalysed activation that demonstrated value at lesser risk to the local government and has allowed enduring activations to occur. While an initial driver was the challenges of the pandemic, the intent was greater than that and has delivered a legacy of locally activated streets and ongoing community benefit.   


Fourfold Studio, Vee Design, Western Downs Regional Council, POMO, Storiedland and Bark Architecture for 'Miles Streetscape Revitalisation'

This project has redefined the town of Miles through transformative place-based design, engagement and placemaking. Fourfold Studio's approach revitalised the urban fabric, fostering a vibrant, community-owned public realm. This project celebrates local identity, drives economic growth, instils community pride, and attracts visitors. The Awards Jury commended the ambition and risk that a relatively small town, Miles, took in making such a dramatic change to its main street and the town’s front door to the rest of the country. This key driver attracted the Awards Jury to commend this main street revitalisation project. The community and businesses have all benefited from this revitalisation project that has turned the town into a destination


Transport for NSW together with Sydney WorldPride for 'reVITALise - Rainbow Tunnels'

CONGRATULATIONS to team at Transport for NSW together with Sydney WorldPride for 'reVITALise - Rainbow Tunnels', winning the 'Small Scale Place Project' Award at the Place Leaders Asia Pacific Awards last week. This Award recognises a project or scheme that has demonstrated best practice #placemaking under A$200K. This project created three brilliant (literally and figuratively!) light artworks designed by LGBTIQA+ artists. It was apparent to the Awards Jury that the team devoted significant effort to reimagining an underutilised place when building their space narrative to celebrate local identity while actively measuring its impact. What an impressive transformation it was with one passer-through saying "This tunnel used to give me the heebie jeebies, now … it's butterflies." The Awards Jury was impressed with this demonstration of a strong tactical outcome paired with data to substantiate the impact. 


Activate Darwin and Proper Creative's 'Darwin Street Art Festival'

The Awards Jury recognised the design intent and long-term investment to integrate digital and cross-reality approaches into this annual event as demonstrating best practice in digital placemaking. The intentionality of the app design is not only to support marketing, wayfinding, and event legacy, but also to extend into a means of offering unique audience experiences via AR and memento capabilities. Whilst the Festival annually transforms the city, it is also transforming NT artistic practice by commissioning opportunities for artists to compose artwork that extends storytelling through a 'cross reality' approach. This is an evolving area of creative practice. The development, deployment and iterative improvements of an app happen over many years - this is the hidden reality and journey this Festival has taken since 2017. The Awards Jury agreed this project has gone beyond the usual pilot scheme to embrace the current possibilities of using digital platforms in place-making for people. The Darwin Street Art Festival creates moments and gives opportunities for people to stop; it cultivates conversations with friends, families and strangers, and creates memories of a place for people. 



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