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Ballarat Creative City Strategy

The City of Ballarat - Victoria, Australia
Facilitation, Research, Insights, Strategy

The city of Ballarat, located just over an hour from Melbourne, is one of Victoria’s prestigious regional cities, celebrated for its rich and proud history as a gold rush town, the birthplace of Australian democracy, and some of Australia’s best-preserved heritage architecture. In more recent years, the city’s arts and cultural scene has become increasingly important to the place identity, with major arts institutions housed in the heritage buildings and a prominent emerging festival and event calendar attracting national attention. The City of Ballarat’s Council Plan sought to build on this momentum and its existing assets with the delivery of an economically-driven Creative City Strategy, seeking policy and investment opportunities in a move to make the city increasingly attractive as a liveable, resilient community.

Left Bank Co. partnered with SGS Economics & Planning, MGS Architects and creative spaces expert Eleni Arbus to deliver a comprehensive scope of works to research, engage, plan, design, test and produce a Creative City Strategy and Creative Precinct Master Plan for Ballarat. Left Bank Co.’s role was to apply our expertise in the creative and cultural sector to understand, make sense of and communicate the complex creative ecology of the city, in order to inform and shape the strategy and the resulting planning and policy impacts for the City and the built environment. 

Through a series of stakeholder engagement workshops, in-depth research, and consultation with Council and others within the project team, Left Bank Co. compiled a comprehensive discussion paper with the purpose of summarising the creative ecology and presenting critical insights for public review and further consultation. This discussion paper, along with others produced by SGS and MGS, formed the basis of a charette, facilitated by Left Bank Co. and attended by Council, key stakeholders and members of the community. This session was designed and delivered to establish the bones of the Creative City Strategy, exploring various planning and policy actions for Council to implement, major infrastructure projects to be funded, and other creative and collaborative actions to be implemented throughout the community. 

The three discussion guides were released to the public in the middle of 2018 and can be found here, along with the draft Strategy and Master Plan due for release for public consultation in late 2018.