What is place activation?
Activation is the process of bringing people
and life to new sites and existing places.
In order to be successful, great places must respond to the needs of the local area and create new ways for people to interact and experience a neighbourhood. For this to happen, places need to be active, accessible, comfortable, social, diverse, resilient and loved by their community.
One of the greatest challenges in creating a great place from scratch, is that without an existing community – without identified needs, and a strong pride of place – the places we create will feel empty and lost. It is for this reason we invest in activation. Activation enables us to slowly introduce places to people – creating emotional and physical bonds that only grow stronger as the development progresses.
Activation is about bringing people and life to a place in order to make it real, character-filled and sustainable. It is achieved by coordinating on-the-ground activities including events, retail offers, personalised experiences and community engagement. Successful activation creates places that are buzzing with people, where the community has a strong sense of pride, and where local businesses are sustainable, or better, thriving.
Fundamentally, activation is not an outcome – it’s a process. As such, to be successful it requires a detailed approach that ensures what we do is strategically linked to the vision, opportunities and challenges of a place.
Increasingly, activation is employed by residential and commercial property developers in order to deliver early amenity in the form of interim public spaces, interim retail, or curated cultural and social activities. These interventions are intended to improve the quality of life and liveability of emerging places and compensate for the longer timelines needed to deliver community infrastructure and public amenity. They are also crucial for attracting investment, tenants and people to a place as it develops.
By investing in place activation, developers are able to generate activity on-site that benefits everyone from local businesses, to existing residents, to stakeholders, to site workers – all while simultaneously providing passive surveillance to ensure precincts are safe and accessible. This activity helps to inform positive behaviours and
perceptions that, in turn, continue to attract people and business to the precinct.