There's No Place Like (Without) Country

Palgrave Macmillan
Publication Type:
Placemaking Fundamentals for the Built Environment, 2020, pp. 63-82
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In this chapter, we critique traditional Placemaking approaches to site, through the Indigenous Australian concept of Country. We contest that a move away from the word ‘placemaking’ is overdue. We instead propose a practice of ‘making place’, and further ‘making space’ i) that allows overlooked spatial (hi)stories to reclaim sites that they have always occupied, and ii) for the very occupants and stories that are ordi-narily overlooked in urban and spatial design practice. To do so is to accept that we must look to those marginal occupants, practices and writings that challenge the gen-dered, heteronormative, white, neuro-typical and colonising discourses that dominate architecture. Placemaking practices employ community consultation, privileging local stories and quotidian ways-of-being in response. It is our position, that even these ‘community-engaged’ processes perpetuate erasure and marginalisation precisely through their conceptualisations of ‘Site’ and what constitutes community. We present a model for an Indigenous/non-Indigenous collaboration that offers methods of spatially encountering site within a colonial context. We share our experi-ences of a project that we collaboratively produced in the Badu Mangroves at Syd-ney Olympic Park, to share the overlooked spatial histories and cultures of countless millennia. We have woven together Indigenous epistemologies, ontologies and axiol-ogies, and design-as-research methodology.
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