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Our team

Gilbert Rochecouste
Founder and Managing 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.

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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.

Emma Hall
Senior Placemaker


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
Placemaking Support Officer


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.

Samer Bannourah
Graduate Placemaker

Samer holds a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Urban Design, and he has experience working in both public and private practice.


Throughout his studies and professional life, he has developed a passion for creating inclusive and accessible places.


Through a deep understanding of urban dynamics and a commitment to spatial equity, his interests lie in addressing social and economic disparities within urban environments.

Micha Woodhouse
Placemaking Contractor

Micha is a placemaker, designer, registered
architect and sessional tutor.

She has a background working in architecture and design offices. Her experience includes planning, designing, documenting and administering the delivery of a range of built forms. The projects she has worked on cover a diverse range of building typologies: private dwellings, commercial, educational, sporting & public buildings across Australia and the United States.

Highly empathetic to human dynamics, she enjoys unravelling felt responses 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.   


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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.

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Bruce Gorring
Planning, Environment & Community

Bruce is a kartiya (non-Indigenous person in Kimberley kriol) of European and Chinese heritage.

He is profoundly interested in Country-centred urban planning and design, bio-cultural management, community development, and entrepreneurial innovation - examined through a critical social justice lens.


Bruce has collaborated with Australian First Nations peoples, all tiers of government, entrepreneurs and business leaders, peak industry groups, the responsible investment and finance sector, and world-renowned academics to deliver strength-based design, policy and project outcomes. Bruce specialises in building trusted relationships to create places and spaces that make meaning of, and embed, a multiplicity of worldviews in remote, regional and metropolitan settings.


Bruce enjoys a deep understanding and appreciation of the cultural and historical contexts that influence collaborations with First Nations. His approach is grounded in cultural intelligence and cultural competence to support meaningful engagement with Traditional Owners and Custodians to meet their community aspirations and expectations.


He is passionate about creating two-way learning opportunities to build deeper awareness of the relationship between Country and people, the health and wellbeing of bio-cultural landscapes and the built environment, and the contribution of deliberative concepts of governance to foster transformative change in Australia.

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Eloise Telford
Social Impact Contractor

Eloise is a community engagement specialist with international experiences in impact and urban development.


Passionate about resilient and connected communities, she has worked with communities on place-based initiatives across Australia and abroad including a volunteer-led regional film festival, streetscape activations and social equity measurement frameworks.


She is confident with both big-picture visioning and diving into details and is a highly experienced facilitator of workshops for small and large groups. Eloise loves building relationships with stakeholders and can be relied upon to bring her enthusiasm for placemaking and asset-based community development to every project.

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.    

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.

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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