David is Creative Communities. He says he is a social entrepreneur…
On his website he has lots to say about who he is and what Creative Communities do.
Here is but a snippet.
In September 1987, David sat in a public meeting listening to plans to ‘upgrade’ Route 20 through his home suburb in Brisbane, Australia. Until that evening David had no interest in traffic or city planning. He left the meeting as a founding member of CART – Citizens Against Route 20. A week later he was elected spokesperson.
Early in the campaign, David argued that CART should not try and push the problem into someone else’s backyard, but instead should search for city-wide and long-term solutions. Twelve months later, David authored the now influential booklet ‘Traffic Calming: The Solution to Route 20 and a New Vision for Brisbane’. This booklet is widely recognized as having triggered the Traffic Calming revolution in many cities in Australia and North America.
This book pushed David into the national and international debate on the future of our cities and their transport. What began to fascinate David was how the design of cities and towns impacts on community life, particularly issues of equity.
In 1992, disappointed with the way cities were implementing the concepts in Traffic Calming, David wrote ‘Reclaiming our Cities and Towns’ (also published under the title ‘Towards an Eco-City: Calming the Traffic’) which went on to become a text in university courses. It was in this book that David proposed the idea of the Walking School Bus — an invention which has since been picked up worldwide.
David then worked as a consultant in the UK, Italy, Canada, USA, New Zealand and Australia.
1992 – Invited to be a member of the CEAD Committee (Community, Environment, Art & Design) of the Australia Council, the Australian Government arts funding body.
1994 – Undertook work for Brisbane City Council which was the first study in the world to make a connection between rubbish (trash) reduction and traffic reduction. David went on to codify the 5R’s of Traffic Reduction .
1995 – Began experimenting with ways of enabling residents to solve their own traffic problems.
1996 – Made an accidental discovery: the speed of traffic on residential streets is governed, to a large extent, by the degree to which residents have psychologically retreated from their street.
1999 – These ideas were published in ‘Street Reclaiming: Creating Livable Streets and Vibrant Communities’. It proposed a radical new design process for our streets so they once again become places for community building, places that feed the creative wealth of the city, and places that are the engine-room of a robust local economy. To explain these new approaches and techniques, David ran ‘instant street reclaiming experiments’ in many cities. Using just the contents of a suitcase and what residents could gather, he worked with residents in reclaiming their street over a one or two hour period.
2001 – Conceived and implemented Red Sneaker Week in Brisbane, Australia – a program that encouraged kids to walk to school.
2004 – Met the late Hans Monderman and subsequently became involved in the Shared Space experiments in Europe.
2005 – Published ‘Mental Speed Bumps: the smarter way to tame traffic’. This book combined his own experience of instant street relaiming and the experience on Hans Monderman.
2007 – Accepted the position of Place Maker for the City of Wodonga in Victoria, Australia. His main job was to rebuild the main street of a rural city that was known to locals as ‘Struggle Town’. David’s innovative approach to community engagement and the revitalisation of a main shopping street attracted world-wide attention.
2009 – Resigned from his position as Place Maker for the City of Wodonga.
2010 – Began facilitating Place Making workshops for Professionals throughout Australia and New Zealand.
2011 – Keynote speaker for the Congress on Public Space (Netherlands). Also began working with Focus Paihia (New Zealand) on instant Place Making projects.
2012 – Published in Design Like You Give a Damn  and the Keynote speaker for the 5thHealthy Cities Conference.
Present – David is currently working on developing DIY Kits for Professionals, Retailers and Residents. These kits should be available from early 2013.
David is an artist, street philosopher, communicator, inventor and keen observer of life. He counts his lack of formal education and his marginal experiences as a child as two of his greatest assets.
Come and Meet David on Saturday and Sunday!