Gap Filler co-founder and chair Ryan Reynolds spent a bit of time in New South Wales recently working with local governments, community organisations and others who are trying to get more creative community involvement in the making of their cities.
Highlights included visits to Shell Harbour (just south of Wollongong) and Port Macquarie / Hastings. In both places, the local government wanted a bit of advice from Gap Filler as they develop and work on new ‘placemaking’ initiatives to get more residents actively involved in their neighbourhoods.
We also provided a bit of inspiration and ran a community workshop with Place Partners, who are working with local businesses and residents to get more community activity happening along the strip of Oxford Street where their office is. It was a great event: Place Partners had raised $800 in advance through crowdfunding, and over the course of the five-hour workshop session residents from the area generated and refined their ideas and voted on their favourites – and we gave the $800 away to three different project proposals on the spot! The first of the projects was being rolled out within a few days!
And we were honoured to do a bit of work with our old friends and mentors at Renew Newcastle. Renew’s advice and participation was instrumental when we were working to set up Life in Vacant Spaces. It’s great to come full circle now, and be called on to help Renew as they are transitioning from working only in empty buildings to doing and facilitating projects on vacant outdoor sites….!