Creating Communities was founded on one fundamental truth: community matters.
It matters because people matter, connection matters, and belonging to something bigger than yourself matters. So, while community is a product of the sometimes organic, sometimes intentional processes of connection, consultation and collaboration, community development is founded on the belief that vibrant, functioning, and sustainable communities are in everyone’s interest.
It seems obvious enough in 2022, but in the land development space of the early nineties, the notion of growing intentional communities raised suspicious eyebrows. Doesn’t community just happen over time? The answer was, ‘sometimes slowly’ or ‘sometimes not all’.
The general understanding of the day was that people would buy if the land offering was desirable enough. But, beyond that, community and connection were the domain of marketers as they built an illusion of what might be within promotional brochures.
The impact that deliberate community development plans had on new communities was enormous, reflected Mary Fraser, co-director of the Creating Communities’ start-up back in 1992.
“With consultation, communication, establishing various local groups, and staging large-scale events, we were breaking new ground,” said Mary.
The thought that this was considered ground-breaking simply demonstrates the changing approach to community development in the land development space in Western Australia over the last thirty years.
“We saw genuine impact and transformation in communities. I remember groups within communities being quite emotional when we ended our transition to complete community ownership. Together, we’d birthed different things that built community until it was all theirs,” said Mary.
“Our ability to talk high-level strategy yet be active in the community at ground level was unique. It was the first time anyone had attempted both in this context,” Mary said.