Learning Centre


Profound Play

Why play, not hard work, is the key to creating a better world

18 pages

This book attempts to debunk a common myth: creating a better world requires hard work. It argues that the most effective way to change our world is through play. Not just any kind of play – profound play.

As you are about to discover, the great tragedy in our culture is that we have lost sight of the enormous, creative, transformative power of play. We have trivialized it as something we outgrow as we transition from childhood into adulthood.


Seven reasons Local Government is f***ed

and 7 simple "nudges" to make them more functional

9 pages

Local Government has seven deeply ingrained fatal flaws that make it totally dysfunctional. But the answer is not a wholesale restructuring, or creating a new system. Any new system would soon develop the same flaws, because humans are involved. Instead I suggest seven "nudges", like putting kids hats in all the meeting rooms.



And what's the alternative?

9 pages

There are five myths underpinning the concept of Community Consultation. Each one is a fatal flaw. The words “community consultation” or even “community engagement” have come to embody the five myths so strongly, in my opinion, they are irredeemable.
In this paper I suggest a new term and a completely different approach. I explain the eight pillars of this new approach. I explain how we are using these eight pillars in transforming town centres in just seven days.


Are Placemakers the high-priests of a new religion?

5 pages

In this short article we explore the historical connection between urban planning and religion; the true nature of spirituality; how planning and placemaking so easily slip into a form of fundamentalism; and finding a legitimate role for planning and placemaking. (For a deeper analysis of the connection between urban planning and religion, see the ebook below.)



29 Secrets to creating extraordinary public places

100 pages

David manages to pack twenty-five years of place making wisdom into these 100 pages. The book is full of inspirational stories, photos, and real world examples. Place is a down-to-earth and practical guide for: the beginner citizen place maker; change agents who want to be even more effective; and design professionals.



A new approach to planning great public spaces

16 pages

There is a revolution happening in the way planning is done for public spaces. In four easy to read chapters, David explains:

- The problem with master planning
- The agile alternative
- Trials – how to prototype the future
- Why the community is addicted to master-planning and why it needs ‘re-schooling’.



17 Questions that will turn you into a genius

24 pages

If you have a problem to solve, or a space to design, or you simply want to learn how to think more creatively, then you must read this short, punchy booklet. It explains why most people’s thinking gets trapped inside the box. By the end of this down-to-earth guide, you will have 17 questions that will help you generate lateral solutions and innovative designs.



Making your life count

18 pages

Would you like to be a more effective change agent? In this simple workbook, David helps you identify four ‘habits of mind’ that may be stopping you from reaching your potential and gives you clues as to how you may shake these chains.


The connection between religion and planning

25 pages

Throughout at least the past 6000 years, the priest/astrologer and urban planner have been one and the same profession. This research paper traces that history right through to the birth of the modern town planning movement and even into the modern era of the systems approach. Placemaking and urban design are still deeply entwined with the religious urge.


TEDx Talk - Add some magic to a public space near you

Every human has a deep longing for home and a sense of place. But home is not where many people think it is, because home is a feeling­­ – not a location. David Engwicht is a place maker and founder of Creative Communities International, a social innovation incubator. The son of an itinerant gospel preacher, David grew up on the fringes with no sense of place. He shares his secrets for helping ordinary citizens add magic and soul to the public spaces in their neighborhood or town center.

Why Communities Have Unplugged

A short video that explains the reasons we created the 7 Day Makeover. We were frustrated with a broken system that resulted in unaffordable wish lists, endless talk and glossy reports that sat on a shelf beside all the other glossy reports.

How The 7 Day Makeover Works

It took us decades to build. See how ordinary people can create an extraordinary place in just 7 days, without endless talk, and on a shoestring budget.

7 Day Makeover - Wellard Village, WA

An award-winning makeover. See what a difference removing dozens of bollards makes!

7 Day Makeover - Medowie, NSW

Our biggest 7 Day Makeover ever! Be part of the drama...

7 Day Makeover - Turners Beach, Tasmania

A 7 Day Makeover in a very small community with just one shop

7 Day Makeover - Shearwater, Tasmania

Council had spent a bomb on paving... but the village centre had no soul

7 Day Makeover - Anna Bay, NSW

How do you transform a town centre that has no civic heart?

7 Day Makeover - Tuncurry, NSW

A highway dissected the town. Retailers saw this as a liability. But was it really?

7 Day Makeover - Penguin, Tasmania

Even though penguins can't fly, this town has taken wing

7 Day Makeover - Westport, NZ

How to convert a carpark into a civic heart in seven days

7 Day Makeover - Mildura, Vic.

The 7 Day Makeover helps ordinary people create extraordinary places in just seven days, using only the resources available, and without endless talk. This was the first ever 7 Day Makeover in Mildura, Australia

The Art of Placemaking

David Engwicht's secrets to creating vibrant neighbourhoods, prosperous shopping streets, and magical public spaces. 11mins

Home is where the heart is

An informal chat with David Engwicht talking about how a vagabond, who never experienced a sense of place, became a placemaker - 11minutes

Lounging on High

Streetfilms, New York, came to Wodonga to make a film about David's work on revitalising High Street

Free Range Kids

Target Audience: School age children

Free Range Kids is a simple program, that costs virtually nothing to run, and encourages children to walk to and from school. Once set up, it only requires 1-2 minutes of class time each day to run. It is a class-based program, largely run by the children themselves. Simpler than the Walking School Bus, this program gets more children walking. Created by David Engwicht, after years of experimenting, in conjunction with Yarra Ranges and support from Victoria Walks and VicHealth.


Organisers' Guide

A step-by-step guide for starting a Free Range Kids program. So simple it only takes one page to describe!


Teachers' Guide

Instructions for teachers


Parent Info Sheet

Children fill in details at top and take this home to their parents. Parents are asked to choose what kind of license they will give their children.


Reward Chart

A simple way to keep track of the class accomplishments


Thank you drawing sheet

Children thank their parents for letting them walk and share their adventure


Newsletter content

Ideas for the school newsletter



Create your own documents


Chicken foot

Paint stencils on the footpath, or use as you see fit