Reinterpreting a wetland sanctuary: community placemaking workshop and scope

Attitudes and people can change in surprising ways. In working with community members alongside the Onkaparinga River, we learned a great deal about real remediation: how we can creatively set things right after past wrongs to people and the natural environment.

Often we help people tell stories about the natural and human heritage of a place. On this occasion, working with community members and the designers of one of the largest estuarine native gardens in the state, we had the opportunity to research, document and collaboratively reimagine how a floodplain could be creatively reclaimed.

Building on illustrated diagrams we designed previously, some interesting reading about past wastewater management practices, site visits to document the landscape and new plantings and explorations of the colours, textures, facts and figures of the site, we held a placemaking workshop to present some ideas and examples of what could be, hoping to stimulate discussion and suggestions for a new way of interpreting Noarlunga Downs wetland sanctuary. And people got into it, sharing their experiences and giving voice to a new landscape much more in tune with the distant past than the site of past mistakes.

Like all our facilitated scoping work, we created a package brim-full of ideas, exemplars and recommendations to be taken to those who might further co-create the landscape designs, sculptures and other storytelling tools as the wetland evolves from a beautiful idea that's a bit hard to imagine to a beautiful place that people can't wait to visit. Like everyone involved, we look forward to what comes next!


SA Water

Services delivered

• Strategic consulting
• Workshop facilitation
• Research
• Project management
• Creative direction
• Design
• Photography
• Videography
• Writing
• Editing