Principle 3: Culture and creativity

Public space provides a platform for culture and creative expression that makes places more colourful, animated and thought-provoking.

All public space is on Country, which for Aboriginal peoples contains knowledge and memories. Aboriginal peoples use ceremony, rituals and storytelling to engage with the spirit of a place, activate memories and connect with Country.

Aboriginal peoples should be able to access public spaces for any practice that connects them to their culture, Country and Dreaming. Listen to Aboriginal peoples and their stories of Country to better understand a place and how people connect to a place and to each other. Some public spaces have difficult or painful histories and stories. If we listen to Aboriginal peoples and work with them to tell these stories truthfully then we can make these places for healing.

Think about how arts and culture bring people together – public spaces with a rich cultural and creative offering are more enjoyable and distinct. More people will want to live or work near these places and spend time there.

Public space can bring arts, music, performances and cultural events to communities and create opportunities for more artists, and their audiences, to express themselves.

Events such as concerts, festivals or ceremonies can reflect local histories and cultures, helping to bring diverse people and cultures together.

Areas in, around or between public spaces such as libraries, parks, laneways or town squares are ideal for temporary or permanent creative works or creative and cultural projects and activities.

Think about each place on its own merits, history and location, and involve local artists and creative organisations when building on the unique identity of a local area and community.

This is an edited version of the charter. For the full text, please download: NSW Public Spaces Charter (PDF, 3.34 MB).