Place Agency

Place Agency- Global Award Winners

CLIENTMelbourne University, Myer Foundation, University of Queensland, Curtin University, University of Technology Sydney, The University of Adelaide, UNSW Sydney and The University of Notre Dame Australia
DATENovember 2017- current
FOCUSLaunch new product to Australian Market, develop all brand strategy, develop all brand, visual and digital assets, social media strategy and management, manage and create launch event, development of integrated website that is easy to use, fit for purpose, responsive and featuring a contemporary layout
SERVICESBrand Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Customer Journey Mapping, Digital Marketing Strategy, Brand Creative, Graphic Design, Platform Design, Code and Creation. Website Development, Social Media Strategy, Photography, Videography, SEO & SEM.

Place Agency is a collaborative group of academics from universities and placemakers across Australia who joined together to deliver an education program focused on the theory and practice of placemaking through partnerships with practitioners delivered through Studio projects. The Placemaking Consortium includes seven universities and 16 practitioners with support from 26 placemaking partners.

The aim of Place Agency is all about ‘creating the capacity for people to invest in space with meaning’

  • “Place Agency has created an inclusive process that empowers every group within the local communities to co-create space that is: resilient, responds to the local culture, and increases their physical and mental health while providing a meaningful experiences or emotional connections between people and place.”

Place Agency is a platform to support industry, students, communities and governments to develop better cities through Placemaking capacity building, practice-led community engagement and education. Place Agency contributes to placemaking practice by providing a common approach to understanding concepts such as economics, engagement, governance, evaluation, digital activation, data, community and critically nature and First nation’s aspects of place.

OPPORTUNITYFull Brand and Marketing Launch Project

The Brief

The approach for Place Agency is to allow all architecture, planning and landscape architecture students to develop placemaking skills through a variety of new modules and engaging with community, learning and experimenting with place led approaches. Education Guided by the insights of placemaking practitioners combined with the academic rigour of the consortium of universities led by the University of Melbourne, the Place Agency project was crafted to deliver a suite of educational and practice-based programs on placemaking and place development for graduate level students and early-career placemakers. Led by University of Melbourne the team of academics began this project with support from The Myer Foundation to re-position placemaking and challenge the status quo of traditional place making education and practice.

The project required;
– A Brand Strategy, positioning and creative (to reflect their unique and innovative approach)
– Full Marketing and Digital Strategy
– All creative assets
– Communications Plan
– Custom Online platform to support the administration of all aspects of the business
– A Website that integrates with internal platforms, ability to manage event marketing and ticket sales, microsites curated to suit each University
– Social Media Publishing
The Custom Website Application requirements included;
– The ability to manage all administrative tasks from new student enrolments through to reporting
– Managing studios, publishing all news and stages of Studio Projects
– Learning modules and teaching resources.
– Managing national studio database with interactive map
– Providing a place to promote up and coming events
– Connecting to social media to support community engagement
– Profiling students, universities and practitioners
– Social media strategy and launch

Marketing & Business Goals

This is a sponsored project from private philanthropic group The Myer Foundation. The Myer foundation’s vision for and desired outcomes include a desire to create a sense of connection to place, in order to see more people love the place and community in which they live. University Academics acknowledge that students finish their studies with great conceptualising skills in designing place yet lack practical experience such as valuing the community perspective, poor communication skills with stakeholders.

The Myer Foundation Key Questions
“If we want to make a significant impact, we need to ask ‘how do we connect nature with urban landscapes?’
“Rather than just training existing professionals, why don’t we also go upstream and train the emerging workforce?”

The Myer Foundation Vision for the project
Supporting Better cities to become more walkable, liveable, with increased social interaction and greater interaction with nature. A focus on supporting individual streets and neighbourhoods, in conjunction with communities in the centre of the design process and applying tools like tactical urbanism.

  • Positioning Place Agency™ as the go to for Place Making Education across Australia and a resource for global place makers.
  • Get buy in from Universities to collaborate together in joining in the Brand and running Studio’s and projects Nationally.
  • Engage and onboard a range of Industry leading Practitioners
  • Create an easy to navigate online platform and website to support the growth of the Brand.
  • Universities combining both the practical with the theoretical to train existing (in councils and industries) and the emerging workforce to be good place makers “city-makers”
  • Help to tackle the mental health issues around loneliness respect and within the community and society.

Our Approach

  • Digital White Space took a customer-centric approach by applying their robust framework “The Measure”.
    Beginning with a business audit, “how and Why” the development will make a difference to the market place and to the ideal customer. Reviewing all current plans, research into the landscape and competitors in order to provide a clear situation analysis.
    Brand Strategy,
    After a deep dive of a competitor brand audit, the Digital White Space creative team immerse themselves into the business’s culture, customer behaviour. These insights and research were then translated into crafting a distinct proposition for what the brand could stand for, its core values and tone of voice.
    Customer Journey Mapping,
    was applied to deliver both the website and content strategy. All of this was combined into a Strategic Marketing plan, the “how to” which outlined all marketing online and offline opportunities and how to communicate the unique attributes of the brand and offering. Complete with a 12-month communications plan.
    Creative and digital execution,
  • The above mentioned phases supported the development of the website and all digital marketing assets and platforms including social media platforms, blogs, campaigns, event campaigns, and managed all roll out and optimisation.

Marketing Challenges

  • They had never done anything like this before
  • No Marketing knowledge or experience internally
  • Services and products hadn’t yet been mapped out, courses were still to be written
  • Time poor- project had already kicked off
  • Managing agenda of different Universities
  • Ensuring Students signed up for the course
  • Building interface to appeal to many different audiences
  • Multiple site users with very limited online experience

The scope of the project;

  • Develop a brand identity and positioning to clearly communicate the positioning of placemaking
  • Create 4-6 sandbox studios for each university; 20-30 examples
  • Support and deploy the theoretical content for place making “as education for built environment students”
  • Each University to deliver one industry targeted event, 10 in total – delivering this training to industry
  • Create a website that manages part of the administration for each university, platform to showcase studios
  • Communicate across social media
  • Support the creation a common vocabulary for the process across the industry
  • Engage with community, council and or developers, to deliver practice lead opportunities project for students


Based on the aforementioned research findings, the project team in conjunction with Digital White Space identified an opportunity to differentiate their brand by developing:

  • A brand and platform to enhance cultural and gender diversity
    There is regenerative and then there is placemaking- no one is doing both
  • Placemakers internationally – tactical urbanism (people who are recognised for doing urban activities, Guerrilla gardening- art, engaging movements organising people and putting plants everywhere) This is a tool to help placemaking.
  • Platform to automate the process of studio projects from enquiry through to engagement with council and university academics, place making practitioners involvement and approval finally through to setting up the studio’s
  • Cataloging all the studio’s and the project insights they produce, including working with the community and facilitating their journey with place
    Create different subjects to deal with a piece of the place making story-

Digital White Space Discovery Approach uncovered;

Industry Challenges

The challenges faced by the project team stem from Built environment professionals were not well trained to be place makers in addition to the “Place wash” which lacks understanding of true place making, further background research  identified more gaps and opportunities for a project.


Challenge the Current Placemaking Definition- Re-defining what placemaking is (clearly communicating its potential)


  • A Lot of communities don’t know how to engage with councils and developers
  • Currently place making is only a small component with no practical training and no physical community engagement
  • Currently placemaking hasn’t been culturally and gender diverse
  • In Australia there is no strategy or group that is effectively teaching placemaking to professionals


  • Little budget and dealing with a lot of agendas, councils have a difficult role in servicing their community but lots of vested interests. They are overruled by federal and VCAT.
  • We need to help minimise risk, give them security in making decisions around community engagement
  • They don’t want to get community to hope too much. Upskill them to being able to support and facilitate better


  • Lack of International course for students,
  • There are key partners/business teaching councils yet no “go to source” however working with multiple universities there is an opportunity to spread the program across Australia and diluting IP issues (providing a broader body of knowledge- that is disseminated across all)
  • No subject that gives the whole picture- no opportunity for the students to practice the soft skills that are required to relate and engage with real communities
  • Students need more than a qualification they need to focus on job ready skills


Digital White Space worked closely with the leadership team in order to support their growing needs, whilst focusing on delivering a range of strategic tools including a unique brand proposition, digital strategy, website, marketing communications and creative assets. On behalf of the project team, the DWS team addressed these opportunities by developing a bold and differentiated brand positioning and building an intuitive platform that communicated their unique value proposition and supported the administration process of studio’s along with the communication.

Brand Values

  • Place, diversity, multicultural, and communication
  • Fun, play, Citizenship
  • Theory in Practice, Re-defining what placemaking is
  • Ethical, environmental and regenerative 
  • Capacity and potential for people, environment and community
  • Expertise Demonstration of industry, academia and community working well together

The collective source and body of knowledge

Brand Proposition

Place Agency focuses on a time when how creating fun in a space meant everything! The playful child within us is always there, nurtured by whatever you feed it, so give it something special to discover. So we have created a platform for a new sandbox generation that inspires a fresh way of thinking about people, places, nature and the community – this generation connects everything. Beneficial for the individual. Transformative to the local community. And all it costs is the energy it takes to jump in to the sandbox and play.


Video Gallery


Across all media, owned, earned and bought we ran promotional campaigns that drove impact, featuring them in specific lifestyle targeted spaces to drive impact and cut through.Unique features
Following industry trends inline with a digital strategy all in order to maximize the benefits of SEO, a microsite for each University Place Agency service was created. Providing specific information for students and communities to understand the process and the benefits of placemaking “sandbox projects” over six microsites feature:
-Integration with event publishing
-Event calendar
-Global Map of studios
-Social posts


Created a successful digital platform and presence successfully delivered (2018-2019),

  • 21 Sandbox Studios across 5 universities.
  • 22 studio related events and activities
  • 350 students passed through the program to date
  • The Studios have engaging with well over 5,000 people across AU
  • 12 modules
  • 2 books
  • Public events including 2 place weeks
  • Three place summits for industry (for developers, councils, architects, place makers, students and academics)
  • Industry workshops which has triggered new project called rating place- “how people rank the effects of placemaking projects”
  • Presented national and international conferences, ASA, Townteams conference, world urban forum, NUSS
  • Reflections from students have outlined how much they value the deeper education
  • Some really successful projects where students have been hired to deliver final reports or temporary place interventions

“Performing landscapes – studio are Winners of the botanical gardens design competition-  they were then provided the budget to build their designs as part of the begonia festival in 2019



WINNER: Place Agency & The University of Melbourne for Place Agency

THURSDAY 28 NOVEMBER 2019 @ QT CANBERRA. Place Leaders Asia Pacific is delighted to announce the recipients of the 2019 Place Leaders Asia Pacific Awards.

The Jury recognises the significant contribution of the Place Agency in building the capacity of new urbanists in the field of placemaking with a world-first tertiary national placemaking program.