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Place Activation



Curtin University is the largest and most multi-cultural university in Western Australia. With a focus on innovation and practical learning, it is committed to a sustained vision to establish the university as a destination – creating a fun and engaging campus experience for students, staff and visitors. Commencing in 2013, and over just six short months, Curtin’s Bentley campus was transformed from a series of uninviting and unloved spaces which students rushed past on the way to class, to a collection of fresh and exciting destinations and experiences that enrich the senses and enliven the soul.


Following the completion of a Place Activation Plan for Curtin University’s Bentley Campus in 2012, the focus quickly shifted to implementation. From 2013 – 2015 element delivered a tailored place activation program across the campus to deliver unique experiences and support student attraction and retention strategies. This included:

  • Place activation strategy and concept development;
    • Public art
    • Performance
    • Small scale public realm interventions
    • Ephemeral activation
  • Place branding;
  • Stakeholder engagement and liaison – internal and regulatory interface; and
  • Supplier and contractor management.


  • The place strategy won the 2013 Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) WA Awards for Planning Excellence’s Best Planning Ideas – Small Project Award category, for the inception and delivery of the Place Activation Program at Curtin University program-development and implementation including funding and resourcing.
  • Through Place Activation, Curtin is demonstrating that academic excellence is only part of the story of a successful university – a lively and enjoyable campus culture attracts dedicated students leading to improved academic standards, and in turn, raising Curtin’s local and international profile and student attraction success.
  • Place strategy
  • Place activation
  • Community engagement programs
  • Urban design

Planning Institute of Australia (WA) – 2013
Planning Excellence

Planning Institute of Australia (WA) – 2013
Best Planning Ideas – Large Ideas