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Place Leaders Asia Pacific is delighted to announce the recipients of the 2021 Place Leaders Asia Pacific Awards.


Professor Helen Lochhead (Jury Chair), LFRAIA AILA MPIA RIBA(Hon) AIA(Hon) RAIC(Hon) FAICD Pro Vice-Chancellor, Precincts UNSW Sydney.

Dr Niels Wouters (Jury Member), Senior Design Researcher, Paper Giant

Marcus Westbury (Jury Member), Founding CEO of Contemporary Arts Precincts Ltd Former CEO of Collingwood Yards, Founder of Renew Newcastle and Renew Australia, Author of Creating Cities



WINNER: Place, Design and Public Spaces, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, for Portfolio of Place Design and Public Spaces Programs

NSW Department of Planning Infrastructure and Environment (DPIE) with the portfolio of Place, Design and Public Spaces programs have enhanced the appreciation and quality of public spaces and places across NSW. A great initiative from State Government empowering Local Government and communities. Of particular note is the large scale roll out of the ‘Streets as Shared Spaces’ Program that transformed roads into places for people and ‘The Festival of Place – Digital Placemaking Dance Locale’ that steps beyond the traditional remit of DPIE to engage arts and culture in performances that bring to life familiar places and animate them through dance.

Photos: supplied by Place, Design and Public Spaces, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. (1) Sydney-Square-Dance, Photo by Cassandra Hannagan; (2) Summer Fund, A Sunday Session @ Moama Soundshell, photo by Rebecca Pilgrim Photography; (3) Alfresco dining on George street, Place Design and Public Spaces program; (4) Streets as Shared Spaces - Morph It, Maitland City Council ; (5) Streets as Shared Spaces, Fairfield City Council, Cabramatta, Photo by Ken Leanfore; (6) Sydney Square Dance, underpass; (7) Summer Fund, Pioneer Park Discovery Day, Blank Page Studio; (8) Streets as Shared Spaces, Testing the Tool in City of Sydney; (9) Cabramatta Lunar New Year 2021 Market Series, phot by Ken Leanfore; (10) Sydney-Square-Dance, Dance Cinema, Photo by Cassandra Hannagan; (11) Streets as Shared Spaces, Broken Hill Council, Car Park, Photo by Dionne Devlin; (13) Streets as Shared Spaces, Gilgandra Shire Council, Meet Me @ Miller Street.


WINNER: Frith Walker, for the development, growth and advancement of placemaking at Eke Panuku Development Auckland and across Aotearoa

Over the past ten years as Head of Placemaking at Eke Panuku, Frith has contributed in a visionary way to the development, growth, and advancement of placemaking there, and across New Zealand (Aotearoa). Her advocacy in this space includes the development of a local placemaking network in Auckland (Tāmaki Makaurau), the establishment of a national placemaking collective, and as a champion of regenerative and Indigenous placemaking, she has emerged as an inspirational leader, having a significant impact across Aotearoa. For all this and more, Frith Walker has been recognised on a global scale for her collaborative and restorative approach to placemaking so relevant to the times.

Photos supplied by Eke Panuku Development Auckland: (1) & (2) Silo Park Cinema, Eke Panuku; (3) Temporary Public Space Takapuna, photo by Fresh Concept; (4) Waterfront swimming platform access, photo by Paul Nicoll; (5) Kakano temporary greenway, photo by Edward Peni; (6) Te Ara Awataha Restoration, Eke Panuku; (7) Pukekohe family fun placemaking, photo by Ole Maiava, (8) Eke Panuku, Daldy Street Garden

PLACE LEADERSHIP COMMENDATION: Brisbane City Council, for Design-Led City Strategy

Brisbane City Council’s Design-Led City Strategy introduces 12 bold and timely design values that developments and projects in the Brisbane are encouraged to achieve. We commend Brisbane City Council not only for proposing a unique set of design values, but also for including, interpreting and appreciating community feedback to shape people-centric design outcomes. The significance of the Strategy is illustrated by the demonstrated impact on City of Brisbane’s policies and a range of active renewal projects that leverage community participation.


WINNER: Leederville Connect, for Leederville Connect’s Design Resources

Leederville Connect is an innovative civil society organisation that brings together interested citizens, developers, design professionals, academics, Local and State Government officers and local businesses. Their Design Resources are a practical tool that isn’t constrained by design or planning procedures or confrontational processes and instead brings together the ideas and interests of a wide range of stakeholders.

Photos supplied by Leederville Connect; (1) Jane's Walk Leederville, format for introducing urban design to residents, local architect Simon Venturi giving a talk, 2018; (2) Workshop developing the UX at the 21 Amendment Bar; (3) Leederville Centre User Experience Map; (4) Street Party, photo by Jools Ink; (5) Street party, two MC’s doing battle; (6, 7) Post COVID Kids Party, Kids Arty Farty Christmas Party; (8) Closing down party, One of the retail shops closed indicative of the challenges.

PLACE GOVERNANCE COMMENDATION: Sydney Metro, for Dulwich Hill Station Plaza

Transport projects have often prioritised infrastructure at the expense of place, but this is changing with the roll-out of Sydney Metro and this shift is to be commended. At Dulwich Hill, a new public plaza adjacent to the station is planned that will enhance the station precinct’s public domain and provide a new public space for the community. Developed in collaboration with Council and local stakeholders, the design responds to the site’s challenging topography, incorporating heritage interpretation, accessible connections, better amenity, and landscaping. In tandem, it will provide an improved interface with adjoining development to create new opportunities for activation.

Images: by Sydney Metro, artist Impressions; (1) Dulwich Hill Station Plaza interface; (2) Dulwich Hill Station Plaza interface with adjoining development; (3) View from new station entry; (4) view from Ewart Lane


WINNER: Barbara Flynn Pty Ltd, for Central Park Sydney

The Central Park development demonstrates an exemplary collaborative approach to placemaking by strategically incorporating the arts to enliven the precinct’s public spaces and foster community involvement. From 2008-2019, the developers, Frasers Property Australia and Sekisui House, engaged both local and international artists, through short-term studios, and temporary and permanent site-specific installations responsive to the context. Reflecting the diverse character of Chippendale and greater Sydney, these artists, working methods and materials, are equally diverse. The careful integration of artworks into the urban design has given this former industrial site a vibrant new identity that is embraced by locals and visitors alike.

Images: (1) Installation view of Jennifer Turpin and Michaelie Crawford, Halo, 2010; (2) Central Park, 2019, Precinct Render; (3) Students dancing in Pipilotti Rist video installation, photo by Mark Pokorny; (4) Students observing light in Pipilotti Rist video installation, photo by Mark Pokorny; (5) Installation view of Tadashi Kawamata, Big Nest in Sydney; (6) Installation view of Justine Varga, Fusuma, 2019, photo by Mark Pokorny; (7) Installation view of Yhonnie Scarce, Ectopia, 2019, photo by Mark Pokorny.

PLACE PROCESS COMMENDATION: City of Parramatta Council, 2020/21 Centres Review

The City of Parramatta Council’s 2020/21 Centres Review is to be commended, not just for the strong collaboration between Council’s in-house team and the community, but for its innovative use of quantitative and qualitative datasets to inform evidenced-based decision-making that helps prioritise future capital works projects and ensure best practice placemaking across the LGA.

Images supplied by City of Parramatta Council, 2020/21 Centres Review: (1) Centres Review map with all 51 local centres mapped for community feedback; (2) Screenshot of asset condition audit at Waratah Shopping Centre; (3) Have Your Say placard in one of Councils local centres; (4) Excerpt from weekly team meeting presentation seeking review of public domain design; (5) Image gallery of Centres to assist the community to contextualise centres under review.

PLACE PROCESS COMMENDATION: City People, for Western Sydney Parklands Arts and Cultural Accelerator

City People and Western Sydney Parklands Trust have created and leveraged a holistic, participatory process to generate creative placemaking concepts for Western Sydney Parklands. A 10-day intensive placemaking activity and on-site accommodation for participants have enabled the development of collaborative creative practice. We commend Western Sydney Parklands Art and Culture Accelerator for delivering placemaking concepts that interpret, reflect, and celebrate First Peoples connections to the fauna and flora of the parklands.

Photos: by City People, Western Sydney Parklands Arts and Cultural Accelerator, 2020; (1) Provocateur, (2) Site visit; (3) Sleeping on Country, (4) Aunty Leanne Tobin talk on country.


WINNER: Gap Filler, for Placemaking at One Central with Fletcher Living

Placemaking at One Central is a 5-year-long placemaking programme in central Christchurch that spans 5 blocks of the central city that were demolished as a result of the 2010/2011 earthquakes. The project has broken new ground in reconciling the requirements of a developer and the needs of a wider neighbourhood in a post-disaster city.

Photos supplied by Gap Filler, Placemaking at One Central, 2016-2021; (1) Street Art Space; (2) Good Spot City Tool

Lendery; (3) Hammock Forest; (4) Chchswing ; (5) Detour Snake Run; (6) Heritage Mini Golf (7) Drone shot of Placemaking at One Central; (8) Gloucester Green Event Space, Extravanagza Fair; (9) Kids Street Art Workshop, 2018; (10) Heritage Mini Golf ; (11) Good Spot Garden Car; (12) Good Spot City Memory Signage.

LARGE SCALE PLACE PROJECT COMMENDATION: Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation, for the Leagues Club Park, Gosford

Gosford’s Leagues Club Park has been transformed from an under-utilised nondescript space into a versatile, culturally significant place for the community. Designed in collaboration with the local Aboriginal Land Council, the design incorporates interactive elements to foster connection and understanding of the rich history of the place. It also enables play, sport, exercise, community events, and environmental stewardship within its 2.4 hectares. Notably the park design has enhanced the link between the city, the park and its beautiful Brisbane Water’s setting.

Photos supplied by Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation, Leagues Club Park, Gosford

LARGE SCALE PLACE PROJECT COMMENDATION: Riverside Limited, for Riverside Market

Through its design and development approach, Riverside Market provides a novel outlook on the future process and experience of commercial development. Bringing to reality a community-generated idea, the transformational development is underpinned by a wide range of solid public, private and NFP partnerships. As a result, Riverside Market blends cultural narratives and design with commercial opportunities while delivering a meeting place rich in experiences for the community.

Photos: Riverside Market, 2019; (1) Inside North; (2) Inside South; (3) Market floor; (4) Oxford Frontage; (5) Laneway. Photography by J.Yeoward,


WINNER: South Freo South Corner Pocket, for Harbour Road PorchFest 2021

The events throughout 2020 and 2021 have highlighted the importance of and our collective need for community connection. Harbour Road PorchFest 2021 in South Fremantle is a unique example of engaging with and across communities, nurturing connections between residents, local retail and hospitality, creative practitioners, and council. We commend the team’s community-led approach under the challenging and rapidly changing circumstances of a global pandemic, the impact of their initiative on council’s funding model for small community projects while also proactively facilitating the uptake of PorchFest-like initiatives by others.

Photos supplied by South Freo South Corner Pocket, Harbour Road PorchFest 2021

SMALL SCALE PLACE PROJECT COMMENDATION: Randwick City Council, for Coogee Bay Road Shared Village Activation

Developed by Randwick City Council in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Coogee Bay Road Shared Village Activation was a short-term placemaking project operating from November 2020 to May 2021. A simple reclamation and conversion of kerbside parking spaces provided support to local businesses and valued, inclusive outdoor spaces that enabled social distancing, in the heart of the village.

Photos supplied by Randwick City Council, Coogee Bay Road Shared Spaces Activation, 2020


WINNER: Place, Design and Public Spaces, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, for The Festival of Place, Dance Locale / I want to Dance with Somebody / Public Space Ideas Competition / Summer Night Walks

The Festival of Place utilised multiple digital platforms to connect audiences to public spaces.

Dance Locale, a suite of five short films, was created in collaboration with Sydney Dance Company to celebrate, activate and promote the beauty and diversity of public spaces. Conceived during the constraints of COVID-19 it brought dancers of Sydney Dance Company out of the studio and into open spaces.

Photos: supplied by Place, Design and Public Spaces, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. Dance Locale; (1) Sydney Opera House, (2) Brickpit, Sydney Olympic Park, photo by Daniel Boud, (3 & 4) Darling Harbour, photo by Daniel Boud, (5) Sydney Opera House, photo by Daniel Boud; (6,7) Still from RIVERLANDS, Dance Locale.


As digital media permeates public space, new approaches are needed to enshrine curated, participatory and interactive programming in the digital placemaking agenda. STORYBOX explores unique storytelling opportunities to engage and connect with communities in public spaces. We commend the partnership with media, cultural and local government agencies to give the public an opportunity to leave a mark on the digital-physical experience of public spaces.

Photos: (1) STORYBOX Sydney 2021, Feat Shazam from Riddim Nation, Esem Projects;(2) STORYBOX Parramatta 2020, Story Factory, Esem Projects; (3, 4) STORYBOX Parramatta 2020, City of Parramatta.




LFRAIA AILA MPIA RIBA(Hon) AIA(Hon) RAIC(Hon) FAICD Pro Vice-Chancellor, Precincts UNSW Sydney

Helen Lochhead is cross-disciplinary, an architect and urbanist who combines academic and advisory roles with practice. Her career has focused on the inception, planning, design and delivery of complex urban projects ranging from a city improvements programs to major urban regeneration and waterfront projects both in Australia and the US. Her projects have received numerous awards including AIA and AILA Urban Design and Sustainability Awards and most recently, for the Master Plan of Sydney’s Harold Park Precinct, was awarded the AIA Lloyd Rees Award for Urban Design and the City of Sydney Lord Mayor’s Prize for urban design excellence. As well her professional contribution, she has been recognised for her leadership as one of the AFR 2019 100 Women of Influence and the NAWIC Vision Award for leadership in the construction industry. Helen has held numerous influential roles in industry, government and universities including President of the Australian Institute of Architects 2019-20 and her current role as Pro Vice-Chancellor Precincts at UNSW Sydney.

ETHAN KENT | JURY MEMBER Senior Fellow, Projects For Public Spaces, Co-Director PlacemakingX Ethan Kent works to support Placemaking organizations, projects, and leadership around the world, to build a global placemaking movement that builds systemic change towards place-led urbanization. During over 20 years at Project for Public Spaces, Ethan has traveled to more than 900 cities and 60 countries to advance the cause of placemaking and public spaces. Ethan has been integral to the development of placemaking as a transformative approach to economic development, environmentalism, transportation planning, governance, resilience, social equity, design, digital space, and innovation. Placemaking Projects Having worked on over 200 PPS projects, Ethan has led a broad spectrum of Placemaking efforts, providing comprehensive public engagement, user-analysis, capacity building, planning, and visioning for high profile public spaces on six continents.  Highlights have included: Times Square and Astor Place in New York; Pompey Square, Nassau, Bahamas; Garden Place in Hamilton, New Zealand; Sub Centro Las Condes in Santiago, Chile. He has also worked with some of the most high profile developments in the world to help maximize public space outcomes in Hong Kong, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Auckland, Parramatta, and Sao Paulo.


Head of Research, Research Fellow Science Gallery Melbourne | Human-Computer Interaction Group The University of Melbourne

Niels is a designer, researcher and innovator. Currently, Niels is a senior design researcher at Paper Giant, where Niels builds upon nine years of experience in user research, digital strategy, placemaking and design. He has previously advised tertiary education providers and cultural organisations across Australia and Europe on digital place-making and activation strategy. Some of the outcomes are now award-winning realisations recognised for their creative use of innovative technologies.

Niels is passionate about human-centred technology innovation and advocates for technology ethics to become participatory and inclusive. He is a frequent media commentator and public speaker on the societal risks and opportunities of emerging technologies.

Niels received a PhD in Architectural Engineering. The doctoral research examined the social and architectural qualities of digital media in public space - particularly relating to the role of screen-based technology and artificial light. Niels holds degrees in Architectural Design, Computer Science and Human-Computer Interaction. He is Director of Research–Architecture at the Digital Placemaking Institute.


Founding CEO of Contemporary Arts Precincts Ltd Former CEO of Collingwood Yards

Founder of Renew Newcastle and Renew Australia

Author of Creating Cities

Marcus Westbury is a consultant, strategist, writer and media maker working at the intersection of cities, culture, place and creativity. For the last 5 years Marcus was the founding CEO of Contemporary Arts Precincts Ltd that led a successful transformation of the former Collingwood Technical School site into a dynamic creative community now operating as Collingwood Yards. Prior to that Marcus was the founder of the multi award-winning Renew Newcastle and Renew Australia projects that have reopened more than a hundred vacant properties to creative and community uses across Australia. Marcus has been a successful media maker, festival director and the founder and manager of multiple arts events, community projects and social enterprises across the country Australia. He is the author of Creating Cities (Niche Press, 2015) and was the writer and presenter of the ABC TV series Bespoke and Not Quite Art.


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