We work at the big picture level – looking at all aspects of liveability in our cities, precincts, main streets, suburbs and towns – and at the detailed level of individual developments, projects or spaces, as well as providing ways of unleashing creative potential in teams along the way.

We are experienced in managing large-scale consultation processes that act as all-of-city conversations and achieve both breadth and depth of involvement from local communities and stakeholders.

Due to the breadth of our work and curiosity about cities, we have built up a great network of collaborators across multiple fields including culture, fine art, food and hospitality, events, fine arts, urban design, development, academia, community housing, digital engagement and communications. 

We work in a highly collaborative way and draw on our network for specific projects, from diverse worlds. If you want someone to run a silent disco event, visually scribe a meeting or observe and interpret behaviour in a public space for twelve hours, we know someone who can do that. We also have more traditional collaborators like visionary transport planners, hard-to-reach engagement specialists and economists.

Examples of our creative & strategic approach include:

  • Public Ideas-a-thons that use gamification to inspire and motivate participation

  • Stakeholder Ideas Labs which work participants through rigorous thinking through Delivery Model Canvases

  • Myth busting quizzes that inform on key issues without lecturing

  • Decision trees and values exercises that explore the complex trade-offs involved in big picture planning

  • Convening think tanks of interesting people who can look at an issue from truly diverse perspectives

  • Photo surveys that inspire diverse communities to explore the meaning, values and experiences of their local place & relationships and generate hundreds of photographs within hours

  • Online engagement using Facebook, Google Forms, Pinterest, Flickr, Twitter and collaborations with digital media strategy companies

We believe that creative thinking is critical to the success of our communities, our cities, our world. Many people believe they are not creative or feel daunted by the prospect of coming up with new ideas, but we know everyone can access the power of disciplined play, tap into their creative potential and transform their work and their environments.

Creativity is a particularly powerful tool for leadership; enabling insights into how to make environments that allow masses of ideas to germinate, spot the good ones and cultivate and nurture them effectively whilst managing risk.

We work creatively with our clients to reimagine and reinvent their processes, giving them a new edge, in contexts as various as creative workspaces and tissue box market research.

Working with large-scale developers, global corporations and consultancies, VCA students and community groups, we have developed processes that unleash and harness creativity within project teams using simple techniques that can be instantly and consistently applied both to projects and to day to day life.

To creatively unlock problems & unleash creativity we:

– carry out analysis of operating environment, current processes & relationships, possibilities

– test possible new approaches

– implement new approaches

– facilitate creative process workshops

Our love affair with cities is a long-standing one. Between the two of us we’ve lived in 10 cities across four continents including some of the greatest in the world. On our journey we’ve been fascinated by what makes cities tick, and we are constantly curious about things like the true impact of successful leadership & a good plan. About what kinds of platforms allow for conversation between citizens or the best tools for making things happen and why?

Throughout our careers, we’ve worked across all aspects of developing & implementing big picture strategies for cities, towns & regions.

We start by developing a rich understanding of the local conditions. We engage with everything from the project team’s insights & existing strategies & reports to Facebook groups & local underground blogs.

We then carry out the kind of engagement that illuminates the complex issues and trade-offs of planning for the long-term and invites long-term involvement and collaboration. Our engagement is creative, strategic, innovative & makes use of a raft of specially-developed techniques that go far beyond a wish list.

We pull all these conversations and research together with a process of synthesis & analysis that produces a set of pared back insights that really get to the heart of things.

To inspire possibilities, we bring a raft of relevant examples of what has worked around the world from cities facing similar challenges and with similar assets to build on who have done amazing things.

Our key expertise is in translating these insights along with all that data into a compelling vision, guiding principles & strategic directions, all backed up by clear actions with agreed accountabilities.

To develop whole-of-city strategies we:

– work collaboratively with project teams to define what’s possible

– facilitate creative and meaningful conversations with communities

– work with stakeholders to define how to make things happen

– research inspiring best practice from around the world

– develop workable & supported strategies in areas like identity & reputation, revitalisation, arts & culture, transport, land use, community involvement, maximisation of social & economic benefits, public private partnerships, etc

– deliver vital, clear, inspiring documents that reflect the quality of the process that has taken place

– deliver engaging and stimulating talks on citymaking & ideas

There’s nothing we love more than exploring issues around what makes our cities liveable with like-minded souls.  If you would like to explore with us, get in touch.

We look at place from many different angles. Our backgrounds in urban design, placemaking, engagement, urban regeneration, branding and community development give us a unique perspective on what makes individual precincts, suburbs, towns and mainstreets thrive.

We work collaboratively with project teams, stakeholders and local communities to uncover the ‘eachness’ of a place – what makes it truly and uniquely itself – and to define multiple audiences and what they each value.

Wherever we can, we use the process to test specific strategies. Instead of doing a survey about activating an area of the CBD for example, we’ll hold an event in a central laneway to gauge how people respond in the real world. This kind of action-research gives us direct data & true insights into the opportunities & issues while kickstarting activity.

We have experience end-to-end in defining and implementing what makes places work – from community and stakeholder engagement, visioning and collaborative planning to delivering place brands, retail toolkits, masterplans, affordable housing, urban design frameworks, social procurement and activation strategies.

We have worked across an unusually broad range of contexts – from the strategic planning of Melbourne’s Docklands precinct to making a creative workspace both functional and magical, and a thousand projects in between.  We’ve had the privilege of developing our thinking in collaboration with some super-smart developers, government officers, traders, artists, third sector workers, small business people and community groups. We’ve learned both what makes them want to leap out of bed in the morning and what makes them wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

To develop strategies for individual places, precincts and main streets we:

– work collaboratively with project teams to define what’s possible

– facilitate creative and meaningful conversations with communities

– work with stakeholders to define how to make things happen

– research inspiring best practice from around the world

– develop workable & supported strategies in areas like identity, branding and marketing, events & activation, retail, governance, public art, etc