Place-making key to adding heart to the Pilbara

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Consultant Callum Prior speaks at the Pilbara Place-Making Forum.
Camera IconConsultant Callum Prior speaks at the Pilbara Place-Making Forum. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

The Pilbara should foster more community creativity to better develop its sense of place, according to two place-making specialists who addressed a regional forum on the topic last week.

Speaking in Karratha for the Pilbara for Purpose event last Tuesday, consultants Dean Cracknell and Callum Prior said while the Pilbara’s urban centres seemed to have a lot of “hardware” or infrastructure, they had a relative lack of “software” and needed to implement more community-driven, creative ideas to bring those areas to life.

“From what we’ve seen (of the Pilbara) just in a short period of time, a lot of the hardware is already here — particularly in the centre of Karratha, so now it’s more about getting the software and the programming and the personality of places and getting the community involved,” Mr Cracknell said.

“In most places I find it’s working on the software that’s needed — how the creativity, passion and the ideas of people in that place can come together, to upgrade places over time.”

“It’s thinking and leadership and all those softer skills that, if you don’t have those, then you’ve just got a road or street, you don’t actually have people interacting with it as well.”

The Place-Making Forum, which was the first of its kind to be held in the Pilbara, was designed to explore ideas about how to better activate local spaces and as a by-product build stronger, more connected communities within the region.

It drew about 50 attendees including local government staff members, community service providers and local businesspeople to the Red Earth Arts Precinct to introduce the concept and brainstorm how it could be applied to various locations in the Pilbara.

At the end of the forum, teams workshopped place-making ideas which included installing instruments outside the Red Earth Arts Precinct entrance to transform it into an “outdoor jazz area”, turning a grassed area at the Wickham Shopping Centre into a garden and using paint to brighten up paving in the Karratha Village precinct.

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