A message from CoDesign Founder and Chair, Lucinda Hartley

Over the past month, our communities have gone through a rapid transformation - the likes of which none of us have ever experienced before. Amid the impacts of isolation and physical distancing measures, we can already see the resilience of whole communities being tested. The places that are continuing to thrive are those with deep neighbourhood connections.

For our team here at CoDesign Studio, this global crisis has crystalised the importance of our work. Indeed, there has never been a more important time to work alongside local communities to build neighbourhood connections and zero in on the social infrastructure of places - the things that keep us together even when we’re forced apart.

With this in mind, we’re pleased to share with you the beginning of this new era for CoDesign Studio that will enable our team and organisation to more effectively support our clients with strategies, tools and programs to strengthen resilience and build towards recovery in a post-COVID world.

Vacant shops and streets are a common sight amongst the Covid-19 Pandemic, making placemaking as important as ever

A new era for CoDesign

Our board has spent the past few years examining and exploring the best opportunities for this new horizon, identifying channels to incubate and seed new ventures from within our operations with the potential to grow as independent offerings in their own right.

As of today, our award-winning social enterprise - under the ongoing stewardship of our board of directors - will be doubling down on our role as a not-for-profit operation, focusing on the development and dissemination of innovative products, programs, resources and thought leadership to drive best practice in placemaking around the world. 

Meanwhile we are excited to announce that our specialist consulting services will become the central offering of two new specificalist placemaking agencies, enabling the delivery of more tailored, agile, place-based solutions for clients. 

The two new agencies - endorsed by and working in collaboration with CoDesign Studio - will be based in Melbourne and Brisbane, continuing CoDesign’s world-class approach to placemaking and capacity building programs under a more client-driven model. 

Design Jam in Melbourne will be owned and led by current CoDesign CEO Valli Morphett, while Fourfold Studio in Brisbane will be owned and led by CoDesign’s Queensland lead, Principal Brooke Williams. The teams behind all three entities will work in collaboration but will operate as independent agencies, decoupling our non-profit operations from the more commercial operations so the new entities can operate within their commercial markets.

Shaping resilient communities is essential to crisis recovery

What does this mean for our clients?

While these are significant and exciting changes for our organisation and the leaders of the new entities, for our existing consulting clients there will be no impact on the immediate day to day.

CoDesign will continue to be the home of critical placemaking resources, a catalyst for community partnership, and a leading voice at the forefront of innovation in placemaking around the world. The new businesses led by Valli and Brooke will be well-placed to then help our clients - existing and new - to focus your design and rebuilding plans, to create the strong, resilient, connected communities we need to survive future challenges and thrive from within.

We’re here to help

After a decade of pioneering new approaches to placemaking in Australia, the frameworks we’ve built are now more valuable than ever. In this critical time for Australian communities, our free toolkits and resources provide essential information about building communities - much of which can be applied even in a lockdown situation. We’re excited to see these resources already being put to good use as we explore further ways to support their implementation through community partnerships moving forward.

We all look forward to working alongside you and your organisations to see Australian communities come through this crisis together - and to ensure the recovery of our cities and towns places people and human connectivity right back at the centre.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to [email protected]

Stay safe, stay connected and stay well.

Lucinda Hartley, Co-Founder and Chair