by Neometro

Keeping Melbourne Liveable: Urban Social Initiatives

Arts & Events - by Open Journal

Melbourne has again been named the world’s most liveable city, and with the hotly anticipated event hub MPavilion having opened this month, building and design industry leaders and the public have begun discussing how Melbourne can maintain this mantle.

As part of the free four-month MPavilion program, we are presenting a High Density Happiness series of panel discussions, on the subject of urban fulfilment and how our great city can be developed sustainably.

The first of three sessions within the series took place on 14 October 2015 in front of about 100 onlookers, and featured Neometro Director James Tutton and Dumbo Feather magazine Community Manager Madeline Lucas on the topic of ‘urban social initiatives’.

“It takes a handful of people, with a passion, to convert an idea into a movement,” Mr Tutton said.

“Our session with Dumbo Feather focused on initiatives that encourage collective ownership of inner city communities; the buzz term ‘place making’; and how a sense of family can expand out of the suburban home and into the neighbourhood.”

The series is inspired by a study commissioned by the National Heart Foundation of Australia. Prepared by Professor Billie Giles-Corti, Kate Ryan and Dr Sarah Foster from the University of Western Australia’s Centre for the Built Environment and Health.

Our High Density Happiness paper can be found at:

High Density Happiness by Neometro

Some key takeaways from the event were:

  • Community is important and it takes a village to get things done.
  • Communities are about people…having a story to tell and people to listen.
  • Building a community is challenging and people will tell you when they’re not happy.
  • You can facilitate a community but you can’t direct one.
  • You can’t control a community. Instead, create a warm and inviting space and then let go and see what happens.
  • While it’s important to ask questions of your community, it’s even more important to listen to the answers.
  • When it comes to building a community, go hard or go home.
  • ‘Enlightened hospitality’ is key to community. Welcome people into your community and make them feel like it’s their home.
  • It’s important to establish like-mindedness, without creating a herd mentality.
  • The key is to establish enduring communities that are more than fads.
  • Authenticity is so important. The community will know if you’re not being genuine.
  • Have open heart and a high level of empathy/awareness and understand that what you put out comes back quickly. It’s like karma.
  • A city is buildings, trams and streets. Place making is what gives that city meaning.
  • Place making is about creating something that can’t be destroyed.
  • The aim of place making is for people to walk an area in 50 years time and think ‘wow’.
  • Place making and community can be hard to achieve in built form because once the concrete is poured, it’s poured.
  • Place making is hard wired into built form at Jewell Station, thanks to the performance space, bike path and community garden, all of which take things to a new level.
  • Jewell Station is handing the community to the community. It’s about providing an environment in which the community can prosper, without Neometro giving direction.

Madeline Lucas of Dumbo Feather

James Tutton of Neometro

James Tutton of Neometro



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