Halswell Domain

Halswell Domain
View from the Model Engineers' site in the Halswell Domain

Monday, September 3, 2012

More on placemaking

I've already written a wee bit about placemaking here where I talk about the "Power of 10".  However, there are other ways to think about "making places" and these might be important given the base material that we have to work with in Halswell.
I came across this piece that reflects on the question how do we create public spaces which encourage strangers to interact?

Reading this, I was reminded me of the idea of flashmobs - the one of the best ones I've seen is this one in Auckland which turns a pedestrian area into a dance floor.  Maybe we should suggest that the Halswell Drama Group sets up a flashmob outside the supermarket to advertise their productions!

What else?  Another possible way of doing something is developing a market in Halswell.  Thanks to Council processes this is quite an involved, and expensive business, but it is possible.  Some folk are currently looking into how we might get over the consent hurdles and set up something regular here (watch this space for developments!).  In the meantime, we have are our intermittent swap-a events (next one coming up on 29th Sept - check out details on this page).

A Greening the Rubble site 
I've wondered about approaching the supermarket and suggesting that they might provide a small space in their carpark for some plants and seats or some artwork and seats where people can sit with a coffee, or staff could sit for lunch.
And perhaps there are a number of other places where something could be done to draw people into our public spaces - even our privately-owned public spaces?

And what about display space for community artworks?  I"m sure there are places say at some of the churches where it would be possible to set up outdoor display space where we could run occasional events to make some kind of artwork.

What do you think?


  1. The question around interactions in public spaces is really interesting. One point made by Jan Gehl in his book "Cities for people" is that people have to be "invited to walk". This can be accomplished by making a space attractive, making room for slowing down and looking, and prioritising walking or cycling.

    Chrys' ideas relate making attractive spaces in Halswell; they look really good. But, we need to include more people friendly ways of getting to & around them. The supermarket space would be good! But it needs to be made more walking/cycling friendly. I believe his can be done without compromising vehicle access to the supermarket.

    David H

  2. Hey David
    You are dead right. In an ideal world, our streets become spaces where people meet - and it will never happen while we all drive around in separate tin boxes! The best way to get to know people is by walking (I've met a few local people this way). Dog walkers will also testify to this. Cycling is the next best thing - it's easy to stop, you actually see people and a few of us even call out hello! So it would be great if it were safe, fun and easy to cycle and walk to the shops.