Kaye from the Nathalia Community Bank Committee reminded us locals, and explained to those from Melbourne and beyond, just how much has been happening in the small town of Nathalia – where there has been a major project every decade for the last century. “How is it we can take these dreams and reveal what is already there?” she said. The Nathalia Bendigo Community Bank is proud to say they have contributed $10, 000 to the strategic plan which outlines many areas that require further development.
Bill Kelly, a local artist and social rights activist, explained that we must start “planning for the un-plannable” because “when you do something you must consider the implications for six generations”, because any planning you do today will be there for a long time. To help explain this notion, he spoke of the Nathalia Main Street Plantation which “for whatever reason” was created almost 100 years ago, it was planned well and is “one thing that makes Nathalia interesting….where everybody meets each other”. Without spaces like it, he believes we are “missing out on an awful lot”. Bill also invited us to change our thinking about collaborations and to realise that as a team member “if you give yourself over to the idea that you’re all working toward the same goal, the ego floats away”.
An indigenous artist, Ben McKeown, spoke about how he “ended up in Melbourne…(but) didn’t know how to embrace the city” until he realised that “communities are built up of people” and therefore we need to honour that in urban design. He believes that culture isn’t just buildings though. “There’s street culture, there’s army culture, there’s indigenous culture”. While he was in Melbourne, he helped create a project which included 30 independent living spaces with communal living above a car park, where before the space was mainly used for “bad city stuff at night”. As a result of creating this hostel, the area was no longer as rough and it gave many, otherwise homeless, people an opportunity to be part of a community. He impressed on everyone the importance of not working “against the space, work with it” – which is exactly what he did above a once run down car park.
Liesl Malam and Adam Haddow spoke about how important it is to “educate ourselves about design” because there is “enormous potential here”, but we must realise “we can do it”, we can make our towns bigger and better for all.
NUDF08 opened my eyes to urban designing which I previously knew very little about. In short it involves town planning, in physical, artistic and mental attitude-changing ways for the development of towns or cities. And it showed us that we can make a difference and improve the places where we and others live.
Thanks to NUDF08 Sponsors