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Our training

For more than 15 years, Village Well’s Place School has been the global hub for placemaking education and training. Together with the best thought leaders globally, we bring you inspiring and practical training sessions and masterclasses.


We have created many bespoke training sessions for councils, private developers and urban regeneration authorities. Place School has conducted workshops and masterclasses globally, in Paris, Tokyo, New York, Mauritius, Dubai, Muscat, Indonesia, Aotearoa and many other cities and countries around the world.

Our masterclass series

  • The New Local with Gilbert Rochecouste & Michael Shuman

  • The art of placemaking

  • The DNA of place

  • Transformative stakeholder and community engagement

  • Mainstreet masterclass

  • Place leadership, management and curation

  • Small town renewal masterclass


If you would like to discuss placemaking education and training for your place, or are interested in collaborating with Village Well Place School, please get in touch with us at


The New Local masterclass

“The world needs a new story and a new roadmap to renew, restart and reconstruct our communities”


The New Local is a movement towards refocusing community, economic development and placemaking. The New Local comprises of ten new principles that Gilbert Rochecouste, (Thought leader, Founder and Managing Director of Village Well) and Michael Shuman (Economist, Attorney Author and Entrepreneur) have together developed and provided a compelling story for a new economic development and place-led approach to building resilient and regenerative communities, cities, towns and mainstreets in a post-COVID-19 and climate change world.

Placemaking to
build resilience, regeneration & self-reliance, in a post-COVID climate change world

Placemaking is the art of creating meaningful, inclusive and connected places. It is the collaborative process of making places that benefit all people, everyday. A thriving place is a place where the environment and community are vibrant, vital and resilient.


Local ownership of business matters. A growing body of evidence shows that, compared to outside-owned businesses, local businesses generate per dollar of production more income, wealth, jobs, and charitable contributions. Moreover, communities with higher levels of local ownership have more social equality, civic engagement, and sustainability.


Culture is about the rituals, customs, ideas and expressions of people. Culturally rich places are shaped through freedom of expression, creative risk-taking and showcasing diverse voices. Strong, collective community values and cultural assets enhance a sense of place and local identity, which can occur when communities are empowered to innovate and express themselves creatively.


Innovation means continuously looking for ways to expand and improve existing businesses, and successfully launch new ones. It means providing entrepreneurs with the technology, assistance, space, mentors, networks, and finance to succeed. Entrepreneurs, moreover, include not just the “best and the brightest” but all parts of the population, such as the young, retirees, immigrants, people of colour, the chronically unemployed, and the disabled.


Regeneration is where we put back more into our ecological and social fabric than we take out. It addresses the whole system and strives to make it better and more resilient. The goal of regeneration is to increase our ecological fabric, while also increasing our social and cultural cohesion, to enhance local life supporting systems. Regeneration empowers local enterprises to be part of their place and feel pride in contributing to it, supporting them to think about what they can do to improve the local environment.


While traditional economic development encourages the nurturing of a small number of “world class” industries to achieve comparative advantages, the New Local encourages economic diversification, greater self-reliance, and stronger reliance. Paradoxically, a community that is more self-reliant is often wealthier and has many more promising export sectors.


Social equity is broadly defined as the more equal distribution of public resources, infrastructure and goods. It is about providing equitable access to these basic needs and opportunities, readily and locally, irrespective of race, class and other dimensions of social identity.


Everything is connected. We must think holistically, across boundaries and across principles. We must embrace two kinds of connectivity. One is that we live in a “glocal” world, which means that we remain curious, aware, and engaged with other communities worldwide, to learn what’s working in business and policy. Connectivity also means thinking about the relationship of every principle to the other nine.


Reinvestment means helping local residents, businesses, and governmental bodies redirect their capital from global businesses to local ones. It means more local banking, more local securities, more local investment funds, and more localized superannuation options.


Democracy is about power to the people, where empowered citizens directly participate in the decisions affecting their lives, communities and local ecologies. A new approach to resilience and economic development has a foundation of authentic engagement at its core, supported by powerful engagement and governance tools and models.


“The New Local series dishes up exactly what we need to be energised, inspired and have a fully loaded tool belt to move through the current challenges we face as a society. Gilbert and Michael expertly guide us through a new way of thinking that has the potential to uplift us beyond the outdated paradigms that are no longer serving us and into a New Local.”

– Rachel Kendrigan, Director & Founder, Regenerative Communities


“This is a content packed series that will make you think that everything is possible, but local is best. I loved it.”
– Sophie McCarthy, Business and Events Coordinator, City of Port Phillip


“The New Local gave me both a deep and a wide understanding of Placemaking, as well as the confidence to make a start in my community. If you care about your place and want to understand how to best serve it in a changing world, this programme is unmissable. Thanks Michael, Gilbert and the team!”

Charlotte Lawler, Assistant Manager, Wattle Organic Farms


“This course was packed full of very useful information and resources and sets a great foundation for placemaking moving forward after covid. The resources are very practical and useful as well as the example provided and allows for group discussion to help grow ideas and gain insight from others and their experiences.”

– Michelle Tucker, Principal Strategic Planner, Noosa Council

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