A Town Team is a non-profit organisation that includes businesses, landowners and residents working collaboratively with their local government to improve a place or area, often a town centre or ‘main street’. They are catalysts for change and run by the community, for the community.
A dedicated approach to placemaking
Town Teams are a model for empowering local communities and creating vibrant, resilient and successful places. Each team has different priorities and focuses, but all share the following principles:
- Vision and leadership
- Non-political and independent from governments
- Positive and proactive
- Work for the benefit of the whole community (including future generations), rather than gains for individuals, particular agendas or sectors
Town teams work for the benefit of their local community. They generally focus on projects or events that:
- Improve and/or activate public spaces
- Bring the community together
- Attract visitors
- Support local businesses
Town Teams work collaboratively with their local government and engage with other community groups, businesses and residents in the course of their volunteer activities.
The actions or projects are often identified in a Place Action Plan, prepared in cooperation with the local government. Action Plans provide the ‘story’ of the place – the vision for the area, the opportunities, the challenges, a list of actions and who will implement them. The Action Plans provide transparency and accountability, which are often lacking in urban areas. They also build trust and confidence as the actions are “ticked off” and new actions proposed.
Some Town Team project examples include:
Leedy Streets Open (Leederville Connect)
Leedy Streets Open created new places for people in the Leederville town centre over four summer weekends in 2018, creating a wonderful atmosphere and building the sense of place. The City of Vincent and Leederville Connect Town Team worked collaboratively to close the streets to cars and create new spaces for people to relax, socialise and have fun. The project won the Community-based Initiative of the Year at the Parks & Leisure WA Awards of Excellence.
“The project demonstrated the possibility of a town centre free of cars and open for business," said Vincent Mayor Emma Cole."Our community really embraced the Leedy Open Streets. The car-free atmosphere paved the way for some fantastic events in Leederville over four summer weekends," said Mayor Cole.
Vic Park Ride Stride Car Free Day (Vic Park Collective)
The Vic Park Collective Town Team saw their area being burdened with parking problems, speeding cars through the 40km/h zones, and vehicles that seldom gave way to pedestrians. Despite medium to high density living, they didn’t often bump into each other walking on the street. Perth has great weather and proximity to the Swan River foreshore, yet people rarely get together as a community to enjoy it.
Working in partnership with the Town of Victoria Park and the Vic Park Farmers Markets, the Vic Park Collective held the first car free day event in 2016. They organised and activated the street with lots of fun activities, in coordination with the regular Vic Park Farmers Market activities. The car-free days have been very successful events.
The different projects undertaken by town teams have various costs, but they provide very good value for money as they are often delivered by volunteers with help from their local government.