Freo's View


Posted in fremantle by freoview on April 4, 2014













It is interesting to see that the City of Subiaco has advertised for a place manager to become part of their senior management team. The City of Fremantle talks a lot about placemaking and organises workshops with guru David Engwicht, but to actually put a full time professional at Council is a real commitment to doing placemaking things right and different.

A place manager should almost be the think tank of a city, someone with a broad and creative mind who can see all the small and big issues, someone who is not restricted to a certain department, but who gets the overall picture, coordinates departments, strategies and events, someone who extensively networks with the business and broader community and who can support with new ideas.

Often forgetting to get the basics right is what annoys the community most, as a very irate letter in the Subiaco Post again confirmed, when a business man asks why it takes three months to repair pavement in front of his business.

It is nice to see that this blog now and then makes an ever so slight difference, as I am the eyes on the street that rangers in cars are not. After writing on Monday that the old frame around the new sign under the Round House should be painted, today a contractor was just doing that. A city that listens is a city that prospers, so well done to the officers involved for picking that up and getting it done!

This however brings me back to a suggestion I have made a few times on this blog, and that is to have a designated officer to walk, cycle, the inner city and follow a grid pattern. By doing that the officer can take notes of all things that need attention and direct it to the relevant departments. It should not need people like me to tell the COF when things are wrong, and I am probably seen as a negative whinger for pointing them out. But that, mes amis, c’est la vie, and I can live with it.

Roel Loopers

10 Responses

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  1. mark said, on April 8, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Roel the city has a whole bridage of people walking the city, if they just took notice of the info they send in.
    I brought to the attention of council a street issue on a round about in WGV for years , by phone , by going to the desk outside the library, council meetings, has it changed???? Not on your life.
    It’s a little like the whole placemaking street sign issue, u don’t need an army of consultants for a common sense issue, if u have a tourist info centre and no signage for how to find it and need to hire consultants to solve the problem, then sack the guy who needs to hire the consultants and get someone who can do the job.

  2. freoview said, on April 6, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Thanks Michel, that is good feedback and is something I have recognised fro quite some time. Wayfinding and legibility are essential for a city to function for visitors as well as locals. I’ll have a look at the London link you postes.


  3. Michel Verheem said, on April 6, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Hi Roel,

    Interesting to come across this article today. My colleague and I spent last weekend in Fremantle and because we ALWAYS talk about our work, we commented on how Fremantle would benefit from a well developed pedestrian wayfinding system.

    We, touristing around, found ourselves a bit stuck after walking up and down the cappuccino strip, and had to ask someone for ideas about things to see and do. Only a bit later did we come across the tourist information and we grabbed a few of the self guided walks they provide.

    I believe that this really is a missed opportunity (but, as a wayfinding strategist, I may be a bit biased….) to provide visitors –and locals alike– with suggestions on where to go, what to see, and how to spend their tourist dollars…

    A great example is Legible London; very considered, and very successful for the users and local traders alike. More info here:

  4. A Beautiful City said, on April 6, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Hi Diana,

    Place management is about fostering assets.

    Assets should be distinct. It’s part of what makes an asset.

    Place managers should be facilitating local assets for regional sustainability and local distinctiveness.

    This supports a cycle which breeds a vital community.

    Local governments are recognising this in part, but too often just book marketing ads, run a festival or knit a bootie onto a tree.

    A good place manager must be able to create a competitive community, and the local distinctiveness – born from it’s assets (people), locally – is critical.

    The fundamental legacy of place management should be that local assets (people) have a community which self-develops as part of it’s day-to-day doings, because re-invention will always be necessary for vitality and competitiveness.

    It’s culture, really.

    It’s, again, another issue whether a local person or an interstate consultant can provide this best.

    This is where the web of industry and community-outcomes wrap themselves up in conflict and contradictions.

    No consultant probably believes he isn’t completely necessary but should not be paid to help.

    See? Web.

    The answer I think is a sustainable system of self-developemnt where extra professional staff are less necessary. You alluded to this in your posts.

    Many cities have this: they are special area rate organisations who have a staff member to do their bidding.

    But these are badly run sometimes so the outcomes are not there or not good enough.

    Place management has a long way to go. The journey’s exciting.

    But hopefully, we’re all unnecessary anyway.


    (A Place Manager).

  5. freoview said, on April 5, 2014 at 6:33 am

    True, but the present mob want to make many changes and put lots of high buildings in the CBD and considerate placemaking is now essential before the city is messed up.


  6. Rob Harrison said, on April 5, 2014 at 2:44 am

    What makes Fremantle so beautiful and unique was done so many years ago without place makers.

  7. freoview said, on April 4, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Interesting that they do it for certain areas, Ian, and probably not a bad idea at all.


  8. Ian Ker said, on April 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    City of Vincent recently appointed a place maker for Beaufort Street and North Perth and will be appointing another for Leederville and Mt Hawthorn. Good to see this sort of thing locked in place (pun intended) before possible loss of autonomy to City of Perth.

  9. freoview said, on April 4, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    BID is there to look after CBD businesses, Chris. I would not call that placemaking in the wider sense.


  10. Chris Carpenter said, on April 4, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Isn’t that what the BID organisation is for?

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