Placemaking Sandbox

Placemaking Sandbox is a collaborative project focused on the theory and practice of placemaking. The project aims to build capacity, test theory, experiment with processes and identify methods to evaluate placemaking decisions in order to create vibrant, citizen engaged, public spaces and ultimately, better cities.

A consortium will co-create a comprehensive suite of placemaking modules and design studios where students engage with, design and/or build real-world placemaking interventions. A yearly summit will showcase best practice examples, student’s studio outcomes, evaluation methods and build procurer’s capacity on placemaking theory and practice. The Placemaking Sandbox Consortium includes 5 universities and 16 practitioners and counts with support from 26 placemaikng procurers.

Our Spread Across Australia

Aim and Objectives

The Placemaking Sandbox project aims to transform placemaking and tactical urbanism teaching by combining theory with practice, and by enabling students to develop practical skills for engaging citizens and creating places. Core to the project, is a shared understanding of placemaking as an inclusive process that empowers the different groups within a local community to co-create a place that resonates with who they are. The Placemaking Sandbox project has four key objectives:

  1. Promote collaboration between universities and practitioners to co-create a theory and practice based program enabling students to plan, design and implement placemaking projects.
  2. Provide opportunities for students to develop practical skills on community participation and co-design and for citizens to voice local needs and aspirations.
  3. Create a common language for placemaking connecting its procurers (councils, developers, and traders), practitioners (consultants and designers) and students.
  4. Support procurers’ through capacity building in placemaking theory and practice enabling them to create a fertile ground for ongoing bottom-up initiatives through pathways forged by this project.

The Placemaking Sandbox is unique in its implementation of research based learning and co-design. The nation-wide consortium of universities will work together with local governments, developers and practitioners to truly understand the challenges and obstacles to effective placemaking. This collaborative approach is centred around the design studio as a open pedagogy where experimentation with future placemakers to inform broader capacity building outcomes.


Project details


Dr Dominique Hes
Cristina Hernandez
Dr Andrea Cook
Dr Tanja Beer
Dr Sareh Moosavi
Professor Carolyn Whitzman