Architecture and design in public spaces is so much more than angles and finishes and floor plans. It’s more than lobbies and amenities and materials. It’s about meaningful placemaking.

It’s about building spaces that help to build communities through thoughtful design that works to create safe and representative meeting places for various groups to share.

The importance of representation in public design

Public spaces can be broadly defined as open, free and democratic spaces for all to use and enjoy. But without varied community representation, a public space cannot truly be for the public.

This representation should aim to welcome and include groups from varied backgrounds by using thoughtful design elements that formulate inviting, inclusive and safe spaces.

Harmony Square — part of the Revitalising Central Dandenong initiative — functions as a thoughtfully designed thoroughfare and meeting place for its own diverse community.

Perhaps the Square’s most defining feature is its pavement graphic designed by Material Thinking – locally-sourced patterns reminiscent of complex indigenous and exotic designs.

Why Public Design Is So Important For Communities Harmony Square Min

This design is the result of months of research and engagement with the area’s various local communities and taking the time to develop a relevant and sensitive design to encourage a deeper sense of community.

Community building

By understanding the richness of, and welcoming, varied communities via thoughtful design, architects and designers are facilitating the creation of even more communities, as varied groups come together to share public spaces.

Why Public Design Is So Important For Communities Musesum Aerial View Min

This is crucial in facilitating the development and strengthening of cultural and societal acceptance, education and understanding.

As a result, this interaction builds and strengthens long-term community relations.

More than a space

Public spaces are more than urban planning obligations — they are crucial enablers of acceptance, cultural understanding and community sustainability.

Great public design understands this, and aims to truly attract and include all members of the public.

Learn more in our report ‘The Future of Public Design’ here.