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The Practical Art of Making Great Places with Gilbert Rochecouste

The Practical Art of Making Great Places
Gilbert Rochecouste
Thursday 29th November 9.30am-12.30pm
Powerful processes, tools and practices to create successful and resilient cities, towns, communities and places

King Street Arts Centre
357 Murray Street
Perth, WA 6000

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Click here to download invitation


Creative engagement: Ballarat Civic Hall

Village Well were invited by the City of Ballarat to engage and re-inspire the Ballarat community about the future direction of Ballarat Civic Hall.

Part of the process included finding out what Civic Hall means to different people , including summing it up in one word…we thought we’d share what some of the participants had to say about the iconic building:

Mystery Tour

Recently the Village Well team was lucky enough to be taken on a ‘mystery tour’ with Gilbert. We started this exciting tour at Hub Melbourne with the lovely Ehon Chan – the Hub’s Connection Catalyst (great job title) showing us around and explaining what The Hub is all about. It was very inspiring knowing there is such a cool enclave of connectivity here in Melbourne’s CBD.

Wow – the guys who started Yammer (which brought the power of social networking into the heart of the world of business) are still operating here on the 3rd floor of Donkey Wheel House in Bourke St, even though they’ve already hit the big time in the IT universe!

The Hub is a great example of democratising the means of production and promoting the power of connectivity. It’s a very cool place as well  (Village Well ran an engagement process with members last year to help develop the design brief for the fit out).

After the Hub we trundled off in our mini bus to visit a new housing complex in East Coburg called ‘The Nicholson’. Peter Burke from Places Victoria showed us around this innovative, mixed tenure complex that combines social, affordable (NRAS) and private rental as well as privately owned housing, and provides spaces for commercial uses at street level. This rare experiment in socially mixed community (rare for Melbourne, that is) seems to be going very well indeed. Well-done Places Vic!

Here is the Village Well team on the seats in the communal courtyard  – do we look like a band?

To top off these great experiences, we were lucky enough to be shown around the new Heidelberg co-op, Murundaka, by the lovely Co-op members. WE LOVED IT!

This is social housing owned by Common Equity Housing Limited (CEHL) and funded by the State and Federal governments, but managed by the residents for the residents.

This place has the nicest, homeliest feel of any medium density housing I have ever experienced – and that’s quite a lot.

Murundaka is an intentional community of 17 units that range from 1br-3br where the residents are committed to cooperative and sustainable living.

The architecture from the street is a bit institutional and hyper modern, so the place doesn’t really look like housing – but then you walk around a corner and into the courtyard and wow! It’s just so personal and charming.

The architecture of the common areas, including a lovely big common lounge / dining / kitchen area, a flexible loft area for watching movies, making crafts – anything you want really – is so comfortable, with a warm fireplace, a cozy collection of couches, a huge length of dining table and a friendly assortment of chairs. Apparently everybody gathers here on Friday nights – to eat, entertain guests and party. But it has the feel of a place that’s very well used most of the time.

Individual apartments are self contained and lovely. Many have a pretty outlook, and all have good light, nice kitchens and bathrooms, a well sized bedroom, spacious living area and a little porch – each one a little island of peace. And there are great shared facilities, like a room with a bath, a big laundry, a giant trampoline for the 13 or so kids – everything you could possibly want! There are already great veggie gardens here and on a neighboring Co-op site, and more gardens are in the process of design.

It was all such a delight, and to end our tour – home made SOUP! Very yum – thanks Gilbert.

And thanks to all our lovely hosts for their time and generosity – it was a very inspiring and enjoyable day, and our eyes were opened to many new possibilities. Great professional development and team building Village Well!

Speculative Work, Why Designers Shouldn’t Work For Free


We came across this interesting video about speculative work and why it’s doing harm to the design industry. After watching this video what are your thoughts about speculative work. Do you think it gives designers and alike a chance to shine if their designs are chosen? Or do you think it’s causing a problem for the design industry? What if it was for a good cause, does that make it ok?


At Village Well we’re currently thinking about the problem of cigarette butts, and how we can reduce butt flicking.

Two not-nice facts: cigarette butts make up about one-third of the one billion items of litter entering Melbourne’s waterways each year and can take up to 15 years to break down.

We are wondering – is it a design issue? Not enough bins? Bins not in the right spot? Is it a behavioural issue – just part of the habit, part of the ritual of smoking? Or is it simply a lack of understanding or awareness of the consequences of this kind of pollution? Perhaps people think cigarette butts are biodegradable?

What do you think? Share your insights with us – or if you’re so inclined – go ahead and dob in a flicker at

This photo is taken from near fitness first at Victoria Gardens, which interestingly has plenty of smoking bins.

Post your comment or let us know about a butt flicking hot spot.