The #Get Sunflowered project explores the activation of local com m unities to transform  degraded vacant sites within the Regional City centre of Latrobe Valley currently undergoing massive adverse change. The temporal work brings the community together to transform the urban landscape into beautiful fields of sunflowers to redefine the image of the city and the regenerate productive
relationships within the social fabric.

First Award | RTFSA 2016 Awards

Category: Landscape Design (Built)  

Participant  Name: Rosalea Monacella

Team Member: OUTR Research Lab, Craig Douglas

Country: Australia

#Get Sunflowered By OUTR Research Lab
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The project was developed as a series of events including cleaning and preparing sites, planting, maintenance, watering, to culminate in a harvest party to celebrate place and community. Each site  was uniquely designed as a wondrous temporal land art project and an immersive space in which  each town had a sunflower harvest celebration featuring local bands, performers, food vendors and  activities. Locals and visitors attended these celebrations of place, leaving with armfuls of sunflowers.

#Get Sunflowered By OUTR Research Lab
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#Get Sunflowered encourages community organisation to build cooperation, reconnect a fragmented community, and build sustainable relationships between citizens, community groups, industry and local government to build capacity and actively contribute to economic, social and ecological wellbeing of the town in an uncertain future.

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Con t r ibu t ion  t o a m or e sust ain able f u t u r e

# Get Sunflowered works on a num ber of different levels tackling a range of problem s: beautifying and  populating ugly, neglected sites that otherwise depress local neighbourhoods and their residents;  instilling a shared pride in place and increasing positive social interactions; promoting urban farming,  gardening, backyard vegetable raising and local prim ary food production; engaging with long term  unemployed people to provide basic skills training, work experience and avenues into paid  em ploym ent; dem onstrating sustainable projects with com m ercially viable potential to help stim ulate  and support transition of the Latrobe Valley’s regional econom y into a low carbon future; ‘rebranding’  the city

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Innovative practices for a Sustainable Community

Vacancy of buildings, sites and spaces is a characteristic of urban decay and evidence of the rapid relocation of capital and industry within a fast m oving, globalised econom y. Vacant sites, underutilised public spaces and empty buildings erode social cohesion by disrupting amenity, blighting streetscapes, creating litter traps and attracting anti-social behaviour.

The phenom enon of vacancy within the urban fabric is well recognised as adversely im pacting places like Michigan’s Detroit and Flint, and UK northern cities and towns. It’s occurrence in the Australian context is less well acknowledged.

#Get Sunflowered By OUTR Research Lab
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The project tackles the im m ediate problem  of vacancy by using an innovative approach: opening up  dialogue with the owners of derelict sites and introducing them to the flexibility of temporary  occupation supported by form al, no-rent site agreem ents; and, organising local com m unity interest in  bringing eyesore sites into positive community use. Activation of the social capital through local  business and industry support served to bond the community. The project acts as springboard for the  com m unity to understand how together they can be active agents for positive change.

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