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The Place Leaders Awards were co-hosted by City of Parramatta on 13 October 2022 at Parramatta Square. 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 and Recipients! 


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 within the 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 the work in delivering successful place outcomes that enrich the life and well-being of all communities.


Alex O'Mara (Jury Chair), Principal, Sustainable Solutions Advisory

Dr Robyn Creagh (Jury Member), Senior Lecturer at The University of Notre Dame Australia

Frith Walker (Jury Member), Head of Placemaking, Eke Panuku


Place Leaders Asia Pacific is delighted to announce the recipients of the 2022 Awards.


WINNER: Arncliffe Community Hub - Evolve Housing

This year, the jury recognises the leadership from Evolve Housing with the Arncliffe Community Hub in harnessing the power of placemaking to support a diverse range of disadvantaged and vulnerable people into emergency accommodation during COVID and create a sense of belonging and connection to community through placemaking. We want to acknowledge and celebrate the efforts to provide a whole of life experience and support-not just a roof–and the meaningful community connections that were created as a result. When the COVID pandemic hit, Evolve Housing turned around an upgrade to 142 units within 6 weeks to support rough sleepers off the streets, single parents, women and children escaping domestic violence, young people at risk of homelessness and people in urgent need of housing assistance. Rather than doing the minimum possible to house people, they didn’t stop there but instead approached this with a bold vision for how great placemaking has the capacity to create community–recognising that many people moving into the housing had no previous connection to Arncliffe and securing funding from philanthropic and government sources to enable it.

Evolve Housing’s agile, community-led and place-based approach provided wrap around support to this instant community, creating a sense of community. They tailored their response to the needs of their community and the Jury were so impressed by what emerged–everything from a community garden built with the Community Greening Team which the community called the Garden of Eden, health drop-in sessions, free morning teas, homework and internet hubs, a mural painted by a resident, a street library and connections to services like training and employment. This was embraced by the community, creating a sense of belonging, with members stepping up to look after the garden and for example, a resident offering cooking classes to the community. Of the tenants surveyed, 100% felt supported and 78% felt that they were part of a community. While potentially not strictly everyone’s “definition” of placemaking, this project shone because of its clear illustration of how the use and recognition of place is critical to happy living. The jury were so impressed by this nomination because it is about true placemaking-about addressing difficult challenges that make a real difference to people’s lives, and about the value in place-based, community led approaches. The opportunity to thrive in great places should be available to everyone-this is at the core of 'just transition' and we celebrate the creativity, drive, innovation, kindness and leadership of Evolve Housing in making that happen.


WINNER: City of Parramatta Placemaking Team

It is so heartening to see a placemaking team operating at this level and with such broad support, especially from above. It is not easy to work within the system in a way that both progresses change and honours more established ways of thinking–this team’s commitment to helping their places and all those that care for them is a testament to their creativity, dedication, and optimism."Placemakers don't design and build assets, they design and build working systems"–really sums up what we hope this placemaking word is achieving within local government thinking. Really commend the balance between clear leadership and remaining well aware that this is, ultimately, a role that is in service to people and place. A strong team of strong people who believe in the potential of their place and the capacity of all peoples to see it into fruition. And capitalising costs? Gold stars all round!!!! Awero for you though team – now how do you make space for your local mobs.


Leederville Connect is a civil society organisation that seeks to shape the future of urban development in Leederville, an inner-city, urban area, three kilometres from the centre of Perth. UX2 adds to Leederville Connects portfolio to present eleven actionable urban projects which envisage a liveable, ethical and sustainable future for Leederville which speaks to local community, and local developers.


WINNER: Parramatta Place Plan - City of Parramatta

The Parramatta Place Plan has harnessed an innovative approach to place governance to deliver dynamic, adaptive and integrated outcomes for Parramatta. We were impressed by the strong commitment from the Council to harnessing the Place Plan to promote public benefit within the public realm and with its vision of Parramatta Place as a gathering place starts with Country, respecting its history in that the Burramattagal Clan of the Dhurug people gathered here. One of the strengths of the Place Plan is the way it brings people together to create shared outcomes for the place, enabling integrated decision-making through the creation of alliances of tenants and landowners to drive connectivity, sustainability and activation. The Jury was also impressed by the Place Management Framework which will generate ongoing data to inform agile decision-making and enable an inclusive evolution of the place, ensuring that diverse stakeholder groups such as CALD communities, youth and First Nations, as well as tenants and others are engaged in ongoing activation and curation of the precinct to ensure 'everyone feels welcome'.


WINNER: A2040 - Alexandria Council

This project won the judges’ hearts. In the writing about place in this application we saw a beautiful understanding of the magnitude and importance of what we are working with as placemakers. We would like to honour this group for having the humility and wisdom to acknowledge First Nations people as being where deep knowledge of place lives. We would also like to really commend the empowerment of council staff in this inclusive process. The artful disruption that this project displays is highly inspiring–shown beautifully in the point "the success relies on the humility in leadership to know that this movement has started... [and that] the programme must continually evolve...". The attention to holding to the Golden Thread of strategy connected to the “place led, community fed” approach ensures a meaningful journey to a carefully considered future. Beautiful.

PLACE PROCESS COMMENDATION: Doing Things Differently - Suburban Land Agency

The Suburban Land Agency’s vision is to ‘create great places where communities thrive’ while it’s primary role is to develop and sell ACT government land. To achieve this, from 2020 SLA have embarked on a journey of “Doing Things Differently” applying a placemaking lens across its land development program and taking a people and place first approach, and commencing major projects with community engagement to develop a Place Vision or Place Design Brief. It is truly inspiring to see this level of thinking being honoured and supported at this level of governance. We know this effort needs to be top down and bottom up so highly commend the commitment to vision and the courage to do things differently in order to ensure that you are what you say on the tin.


WINNER: Places to Love - Transport for New South Wales

Places to Love is more than a funding scheme. This collaboration lead from within State Government catalyses place projects with 9 local Councils. These are ambitious projects with meaningful impact in communities. However the outcomes go beyond these. Places to Love brings together a community of practice across the participants, building capacity and sharing expertise that has led to a publicly available case studies and an evaluation tool. The intentional progression from an agile, immediate Covid need, to overtly healing the resulting separation, and then to permanent change was deeply impressive. This is a large scale project that seeks to build not only communities of place, but also a community of place-makers sharing learnings between Councils. We love it.

LARGE SCALE PLACE PROJECT COMMENDATION: City Walk Public Realm Upgrade - City Renewal Authority

The City Renewal Authority leads design-led, people-focused urban renewal in Canberra’s CityRenewal Precinct. City Walk is Canberra’s original pedestrian mall. The primary objective for the upgrade was to encourage the community to spend more time in City Walk, channel pedestrians to the outer edges, supporting retail outlets, and creating more intimate, activated spaces for locals and visitors to enjoy.


WINNER: Sunny Side Up AR Treasure Hunt - Design Brisbane, Brisbane City Council

Sunny Side Up is a great project. The team are conscious of their intentions and have structured all of their activities, partnerships and engagements to achieve their aims. Sunny Side up invests in young and gender and sexuality diverse creatives. They do this in a meaningful way–with trust, with thoughtful generosity–and they make a real impact. This project wisely builds layers of digital engagement and activities onto the physical installations that are one outcome of the project. Other outcomes include up skilling and increased exposure for artists, and covid-safe and engaging events for others. This project works in place holistically: building capacity and community both through the process and activations. The judges would also like to award this project the unofficial Creative Sector Support Gold Star Award and commend the recognition, that our creative sectors are key to making our places and people healthy.

SMALL SCALE PLACE PROJECT COMMENDATION: Living Breathing Gallery, Ipswich Central Revitalisation - Ipswich City Council

We want to commend Ipswich City Council for their work on the Living Breathing Gallery and the Ipswich Central Revitalisation, a catalyst project to engage stakeholders in the transformation of the City Centre. Through working bees and other collaborations such as with First Nations artist Robin Wakkajinda, murals, a green wall and welcoming clean streets now greet visitors to Bell Street. The Living Breathing Gallery has delivered a holistic approach to placemaking.


City People is a Sydney-based company providing: Arts & Cultural Strategy, Culture-led Placemaking, Arts Programming and Producing. Wanna Dance is a collaboration between a cultural organisation, local businesses and some of Sydney’s leading designers, sound artists, choreographers and dancers. Wanna Dance enabled people to dance in our public spaces and reactivate the city during lockdown.


WINNER: Your Ground - Monash University XYZ Lab, Crowdspot

Your Ground is an exciting project–a cutting edge place-based approach to digital placemaking led by a great collaboration between Monash University’s XYX Lab and Crowd Spot to crowdsource women and gender diverse people’s perceptions of safety through an interactive online map enabling women, girls and gender diverse people to provide information about safe and unsafe places across Victoria. This enabled the generation of heat maps identifying exemplars of safety as well as areas of concern that require immediate attention. The project generated tailored advice to23 local governments and 6 State governments enabling targeted place-based action.We loved the creative and inclusive approach to engaging with that community and seeking their by building an accessible pathway for feedback to be captured from voices that are sometimes marginalised. The project has delivered a dynamic approach to enabling women and gender diverse people to feel safe, and be safe, in their local environments.



ALEX O'MARA | JURY CHAIR - Principal, Sustainable Solutions Advisory

Alex is an experienced senior executive and leader who has worked across a range of sectors, including ESG, sustainability and natural resource management, planning, property, infrastructure, building, design, culture, public space and placemaking. Alex is now the Principal of Sustainable Solutions Advisory which provides advice on strategy, policy, stakeholder engagement, social licence, leadership development and governance with a focus on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and sustainability in the built environment, energy and infrastructure sectors. Prior to this, Alex was the Group Deputy Secretary, Place Design and Public Space in the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment with a remit to reorient the planning system around people, place and community.

DR ROBYN CREAGH | JURY MEMBER - Senior Lecturer at The University of Notre Dame Australia

Dr Robyn Creagh is an applied researcher, passionate teacher and engaging facilitator. At the University of Notre Dame Australia, Robyn facilitates the new postgraduate level Micro Credentials in Place Leadership in partnership with Place Leaders Asia Pacific. Her industry linked research seeks to inform the production of the built environment and recognise the value of urban places to our communities.

FIRTH WALKER | JURY MEMBER - Head of Placemaking, Eke Panuku

Having spent her former life in the theatre business, as a stage manager/producer type, Frith began her placemaking journey in 2011 for Waterfront Auckland with the redevelopment of the waterfront, a 20 plus year regeneration project. She is very proud to be a placemaker for Tāmaki Makaurau, an advocate of the UN ratified New Urban Agenda global standard for urban development, the recipient of the 2021 Place Leaders Asia Pacific Place Leadership Award, and a New Zealand representative for the international network PlacemakingX. Eke Panuku has a vital role to play in making places where people feel a strong relationship with their communities and a commitment to make things better. As Head of Placemaking at Eke Panuku, Frith and her team work within the Design & Place Directorate to ensure that the the change we are bringing to our places is successful and meaningful for local peoples, supporting the programming and activation of Auckland’s public spaces, and enthusiastically supporting the difference a healthy public realm can make in terms of creating liveable cities for all.


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