Give Peas a Chance

The humble green pea gets a fun profile boost in this clever healthy eating campaign from Wyndham City Council. I love the footpath stickers that guide people to a pop-up kitchen in the local shopping centre, where they can add their favourite pea recipe to a book. This works because it’s novel and fun. I suspect the mandatory healthy eating information is the least effective element…it’s the little green faces and personal recipes that do the trick of grasping attention and priming people to make different choices as they proceed to wander down the supermarket aisles.
Created by the Wyndham City Council’s Healthy Communities team.
Give peas 1Give peas 2Give peas 3Give peas 4
Outdoor living rooms to slow traffic
Some Australian councils are doing a great job busting out of the conventional municipal straightjacket. This program from Darebin City’s Safe Travel team aims to enable neighbourhoods to take control of their streetscapes. It helps neighbours get together do creative things with their front yards, footpaths and nature strips, including permanent features like planter boxes, sculptures, street gardens, and venues for after-school games.
The idea is that a street that looks like it’s loved and used will slow down drivers. The web site says it succinctly: “Love your street? You can get to know your neighbours and slow down the neighbourhood at the same time with Drive With Your Heart. By creating an outdoor living room in your street, you will show motorists that your street is a shared space and they will take notice and slow down.” (packing a value proposition and a theory of change into one neat paragraph).
The streets participating so far illustrate the outpouring of energy and imagination when people are given permission to take control of their streets (photos below from the Coburg Better Block Project off the Darebin City website). The program is called Drive With Your Heart. There’s a downloadable neighbourhood guide on the web site.
Coburg Better Block 2 June2013Coburg Better BlockCoburg Better block 4
Community Engagement Innovations
I’m a regular visitor to this Pinterest page by Andrew Coulson, community engagement specialist at the City of Salisbury, South Australia.
Every time I look there’s a breathtaking new idea for engaging communities in plan-making.
Andrew Coulson Pinterest
Pop Up City is a site is packed with cool place-making ideas.
To change behaviour we need to change people’s environment. Ideas like innovative street seating, pop-up town squares, Better Block projects, modular parks, playful street installations, and adventure playgrounds profoundly humanise public spaces, creating new conversations and human interactions.
For example I particularly loved the Barter Bench idea from Amsterdam, where a simple red peg transforms a park seat into a free economy barter site.
Park bench peg
And Nike’s on demand laser beam street football pitch.
Nike Launches On-Demand Laser Beam Street Football Pitch
Sex education with vegetables
My adult students were showing this around during a Changeology workshop.
It made me think: what COULDN’T you animate with vegetables?

World Peace and other 4th-Grade Achievements
“One of the things I learned is that other people matter. In this game one person can’t win, everyone has to win.”
This amazing classroom project shows how 9 year olds have all the cognitive power necessary to tackle fantastically complex social problems if the process trusts and enables them.
If primary school kids can operate at this level, I wonder why we persistently design interventions that treat adults like they can’t?