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Our team

Valli Morphett

‘Together we are stronger’ is more than a tagline. Valli is a placemaking thought leader, webinar guru and co-design specialist who has spent over two decades driving systemic place-based change within Government & the consulting sectors.


As a self-professed ‘systems nerd’ she knows that sustainable citymaking requires an eco-systems approach that leverages local strengths to enhance economic, social, cultural, environmental and political value.


Valli is a gifted storyteller and facilitator with extensive experience in collaboration to drive compelling place visions, strategies and activation frameworks to make places prosper within diverse sectors, including Government, residential, commercial, university and infrastructure. 


Her work recently won a nationally recognised IAP2 Core Values Award for Infrastructure Engagement on Apex Park, Gippsland Rail Revitalisation.

Gilbert Rochecouste
Founder and Creative Director


Gilbert is recognised locally and internationally as a leading voice in placemaking, regenerative practice and the creation of vibrant, resilient and loved places.


He is a sought after speaker and skilled facilitator for community and stakeholder engagement activities and has worked with over 2,000 cities, towns, mainstreets and communities over the past 25 years.

Gilbert founded the contemporary placemaking consulting industry when he launched Village Well 30 years ago. Gilbert continues to lead a multi-disciplinary team of placemakers, researchers and designers.


Gilbert co-founded the new EPOCH Foundation promoting the adoption of business ethics. He has been on the boards of Ross House, Donkey Wheel House Trust and Hub Australia.

Jennifer Cook - April 2022sm.jpg
Jennifer Cook
Director NSW

Jennifer is a commercial placemaking leader, supporting clients to transform their assets into resilient, high-performing and loved places.   Creating successful destinations and experiences for over 20 years, Jennifer brings the customer to the decision-making table with a research-based approach to navigating change and finding the opportunities in industry disruption.


A skilled facilitator, strategist and stakeholder engagement specialist, she has walked in the shoes of commercial owner/developer, cultural curator, city marketer, brand manager and industry advocate, and knows how to align a diverse group of stakeholders to a common goal.


Jennifer’s clients include Australia’s top property companies, and her results-focused and industry-leading strategies have won national and international awards. 

Jennifer is on the board of ASX listed Centuria Industrial Property and the Vennu advisory board and has an MBA.

Micha Woodhouse
Senior Placemaker


Micha is a talented placemaker, designer, registered architect and sessional tutor. She has a background working in architecture but her passion lies within authentic engagement.


With professional experience in Australia, USA and Italy her project experience covers a diverse range of typologies and industries including urban precincts, activity centres, educational campus precincts, commercial development, residential development, social housing and more

Micha is passionate about facilitating a human response to the interaction of spaces. She is curious about how we design for people in a changing public landscape. Her big picture thinking helps draw out creative, critical solutions.

Hannah Willoughby-Pearson
Senior Placemaker


With a background in architecture and design, Hannah brings a diverse range of professional and academic experience having been involved in community development, government and education projects across urban, regional and remote Australia and Papua New Guinea.


She is fascinated by the relationships people build with the places and spaces they live in, and the collective power of communities to create vibrant places that inspire a deep sense of belonging.

Hannah loves getting her hands dirty with data and leads Village Wells place metric evaluation and reporting.

Not one to miss out on the action, she’s often exploring new places on her bike with a sketchbook and camera in hand.

Emma Hall


Emma is trained in Architecture and Urban Design and has experience in social and affordable housing, heritage, strategic council work and academics.


She has completed her Masters in Architecture and Urban Design at Swinburne University, and was the recipient of the Outstanding Student Achievement Award. 


Emma is interested in how evidence-based, community-led design can lead to more inclusive urban spaces, and how they can positively impact the wellbeing of people and the environment.


She believes that quality place-based design can help change our world for the better, and has a specific interest in the benefits of placemaking in social housing. When not at Village Well, you can find Emma coaching soccer for disadvantaged women in our communities. 

Sally Ngai
Retail Placemaker


Sally Ngai is a retail placemaking and retail consultant who has a background in visual merchandising, trader engagement and retail business advisory.


She is experienced in tactical urbanism and activation to attract visitation to create vibrant ground plane experiences. She is a studious researcher and brings attention to detail in everything she does.

Sally leads shopfront presentation advisory and supports mixed-use and commercial placemaking projects.

Shahmeena Labeeb
Studio Manager

With a background in Urban Design, architecture and research Shahmeena, or Shahu for short, is Studio Manager at Village Well.  


She brings a sunny personality to actively engage and support the Village Well office and Epoch Institute co-working tenants.


On top of office oversight, she regularly supports placemaking and engagement projects and contributes to the preparation of business development materials, tender responses and more.

Renae Portwine
Graphic Designer

Renae believes ‘a good design is worth a thousand words’, and has so for the past 18 years as a freelance graphic designer. Creating individual communications that speak to a clients audience and appeal to their creative vision is her brief.
 So she lets her creativity speak for itself.


Through collaboration with a diverse range of clients and industries from tourism, government initiatives, community events, shire councils to local traders, she creates meaningful designs that are organic and intuitive in nature, fun, quirky and indeed inspirational.

Never one for down time, you will find her running the tracks and trails of her local area and places she visits.

Dominique Hes
Regenerative Partner

Dr. Dominique Hes is an award-winning author, collaborator, researcher and academic working in the areas of regenerative development, placemaking, biophilia, urban greenery, sustainable development and all areas that look at using human ingenuity to address the messy, complex problems in our cities.


With degrees in Botany, Process Engineering and Architecture, Dominique brings an interdisciplinary approach, 20 built projects, and governance experience to all of her work.  Dominique developed and directed Place Agency for 3 years, working with 7 universities, 20 or more practitioners, and many councils.    

Steve Ray
Culture & Facilitation


Steve has worked in the environmental and social change movement for more than 30 years.  During that time, he has worked in and for national, state and local Government, corporate and not-for-profit organizations.

He has worked with the Groupwork Centre as a facilitator and trainer since 2008.


His experience in emotional resilience, facilitation, conflict resolution and collaborative decision making form a major part of his work in training and consultancy with work teams and groups of many kinds. Organisations routinely report significant and profound shifts in their working culture after attending these workshops. The learning is often transformational because it uncovers and shifts the unconscious patterns of behavior which form a major part of our make-up.

Samantha Choudhury
Placemaking Partner


Samantha has over 15 years experience in Australia and the USA as a passionate urbanist whose interest lies in creating prosperous places that matter and that people can connect with. She has worked on a range of urban scales including city-wide urban renewal, neighbourhood revitalisation, community-led planning and placemaking, planning for transit-oriented development, providing urban design advice and facilitating land development to name a few.

Her most recent work focuses on building years of practice around what makes places successful to now provide strategic research, place trends and insights for the commercial property sector including working with some of the largest global asset owners in Australia and around the world.

Our partner
  • Placemaking X

  • CLES

  • Regenesis

  • Ross House

  • Common Ground

  • Ethical Property

  • Hub Australia

  • Donkey Wheel House

  • Mainstreet Australia

  • Place Leaders

  • Project for Public Spaces

  • CNU

  • Shareable

  • Permaculture Australia

  • Utopies Paris

  • B-Hive Bendigo

  • Place Score

  • Neighbourlytics

  • Town Teams 

we support
  • Abbotsford Convent

  • Common Ground

  • Youthrive

  • Skyline Foundation

  • Donkey Wheel Foundation

  • LEAD Loddon Murray Leadership Program

  • B-Hive Bendigo

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