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Presented as part of Vivid Ideas

Monday 29th May – Wednesday 31st May 2017

The Connection, Rhodes Community Precinct, 30 Shoreline Drive, Rhodes, NSW 2138.

The Place Leaders Conference 2017 was unapologetically experimental this year, delivering a program that not only surveyed the best case studies from around the Asia-Pacific, but also brought to the fore a new breed of place-thinkers and boundary-pushers that challenged participants to move beyond the traditional comfort zone.

For three days, our audience heard from over 70 place specialists. Community development experts heard developers explain why place considerations have forced themselves to the front end of development projects – and why they including community infrastructure as innate parts of their feasibility. Planners heard about the difficulties of “frozen masterplans” that struggle to respond to private sector ideas and capital, and artists and designers talked about the cities they felt were possible with a few less rules. Mathematicians talked about graphing human interactions to identify gaps and international experts told Sydney to stop bickering and wake up to the rest of the world’s clever new forms of housing.

Aboriginal elders Aunty Ruby Rose and Uncle Ray Davison captivated everyone with their mastery of place, or as expressed, country. These speakers helped the group look out from the venue upon the steel and concrete of the burgeoning Rhodes and Wentworth Point precincts and see the traditional lands of the Wangal people, stretching out along the Parramatta River. We were reminded in these sessions that the most credentialed experts in the room were those that had been managing the place for over 40,000 years.

The conference really was a timely and important conversation amongst all the professions needed to make a place work. And while some ideas confronted, and there were plenty of conflicting views, everyone left the room having learnt something new. We here at Place Leaders received a barrage of emails last week, urging us to go further next time and to keep the conversation on the well-being of our cities and towns going.

We sincerely thank all who participated in our “tribal gathering”, for being open to big ideas, and for piping up on what worked for you and what didn’t. We thank our partners The City of Canada Bay for the use of a fantastic new venue and the tireless support.












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