The secret to successful placemaking?


First published on COMUNiTI, April 2024

Look beyond the walls and workstations


"Building a community outshines workplace design."

This is my philosophy on successful placemaking. 


When I embark on workplace redesign, my primary goal is to build a strong, interconnected community. Why? Because a thriving community is a surer road to achieving organisational objectives than just focussing on the desks, decor, walls and workstations.

Sure, office layout and aesthetics matter, but they shouldn't overshadow the ultimate goal of placemaking: creating a collaborative, productive, thriving community, where everyone feels connected to purpose. 

When I guide clients through a a community-centric approach to workplace redesign I help shift the collective mindset from ‘we’re redesigning the workplace’ to ‘we’re building a thriving community’.

This means I’m not just answering the question:
"How many desks do you need to fit on the floorplan?" By reframing the conversation from workspace to community, I explore the bigger picture and ask:


  • What goals do people come together to achieve in your workplace?
  • How can we foster connections that reflect the company's brand essence and culture?
  • How can we encourage more cross-collaboration, teamwork, and innovation?
  • What do leaders and employees need to feel empowered and motivated to do their best work?



✨ The impact of community-focused placemaking ✨ 

The most successful workplace projects I’ve been involved in are those that are steadfast on the big picture — what do our employees need to thrive? The answer to this question always leads back to a sense of community.

Community-foucsed placemaking creates workplaces where people feel:

  • Connected to the company and each other.
  • Part of a shared purpose with common values.
  • Included and valued, regardless of their role, with no barriers or silos.
  • Empowered to innovate, collaborate, and achieve.

What’s more, when we prioritise building a community, the design and layout decisions become clearer and communicating about change becomes more inclusive, allowing everyone to understand the 'why' behind the redesign.

If you're interested in learning more about the power of placemaking and community-building in organisations, join me for a panel discussion at the upcoming
Thriving Workplaces event on June 20-21.


Mel x



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