Kiewa and Tangambalanga are adjacent rural townships located in northern Victoria, currently experiencing significant disruption, including a downturn in the dairy industry and increasing population growth in the region. A new approach to planning was needed to ensure sustainability of the townships into the future.

CoDesign Studio collaborated with Indigo Shire Council and Regional Development Victoria to develop a Placemaking Strategy responding to local needs and aspirations and mapping out a 5 year strategy of place recommendations for lifting community resilience and pride of place for the regional township.

The approach mobilised local citizenry, educated community members on the challenges the townships were facing and identified shared responses for addressing these, resulting in immediate action for improving the town centre.

A community-led placemaking approach engaged residents, businesses and stakeholders in the delivery of temporary projects for priority actions in the Strategy. Brightly coloured planter boxes, featuring directional signage and quirky sculptural elements now give the main street a unique local flavour.

Matching long term planning with immediate action, a new Township Structure Plan was developed concurrently by the Victorian Planning Authority, guiding the future development of the township. This holistic approach, balancing placemaking and town planning, has resulted in a comprehensive, well planned future for Kiewa and Tangambalanga, grounded in strong community support.

The placemaking legacy continues in this regional centre. We were instrumental in helping the township win a grant from VicRoads and are currently working with community leaders, businesses and students to prototype alternative traffic calming solutions and improvements to public space, leaving a rich placemaking legacy and place outcomes that community can see their fingerprints all over.

In November 2018 we were awarded a commendation by Planning Institute of Australia for this work. Thanks to the CoDesign team including Emily, Penny and Harriet and our project partners who helped contribute to its success. We look forward to working further with the communities of Kiewa and Tangambalanga into the future.