How do you engage with your street community? It’s a question that’s pretty central if streets and communities are to become the functional group in a re-localised society, but it’s remarkably difficult. One of the things that I think is part of the trick is to ensure that there is a variety of opportunities for engagement on offer. As such I’d like to share a recent bike trip that me and Pip went on down Rossmoyne Street because I really love what they’ve done.
Rossmoyne street is a seriously long east-west street in Thornbury and has been the home of some really cool events and actions. They hold a street wide garage sale and have been working with the Darebin council to reduce the street’s role as a thoroughfare and increase the walkability of the city. They have a car-share space, street parties and even a Christmas carol parade.
But now to add to the mix they also have nature strip beds. These are some seriously solid and impressive wicking boxes with all the trimmings (I especially like the framed blackboards). They were constructed in public with an information sheet about how they work and how to produce them provided as well. This is fantastic because it not only promotes the building of these but also engages with people and empowers them to go away and build their own, so big-ups for personal agency.
This is pretty cool, but I’ve got to say that the thing that I think is a stroke of genius is the incorporation of a scarecrow making competition. I’ve never been too convinced about how effective these things are at keeping birds away but this is such a simple and low consumption way of engaging people in a community event it’s just marvelous. I mean think about it, it’s basically hay and old clothes and what is created not only has a use but is obvious and also evokes a ‘simpler life’ sort of feeling.
I love it, I’m giving Rossmoyne streets 4.5 out of 5 hay stuffed flannel shirts!