Meet Northbridge’s Local Doers: Miles Noel from Northbridge Common

Town Team Local Doers Miles Noel Northbridge Common
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We like to bang on about how great (or rather, OK!) Perth is – but our greatness doesn’t just happen out of nowhere!

With a mission to create thriving, connected and empowered communities, Town Team Movement is all about “doers”.

We’re partnering up with Town Team Movement so we can shine a light on some of the people who help make our communities so unique, and just a few of the excellent initiatives they’re working on.

This week, we’re featuring Miles Noel, one of the brains behind Northbridge Common, one of Perth’s local Town Teams.

Town Team Local Doers Miles Noel Northbridge Common

Hi Miles, could you please introduce yourself?

I am Miles, a graphic designer and photographer born and raised in Perth, with a passion for crafting marketing materials that resonate with educational arts and community-based businesses. My journey spans almost 20 years, having freelanced for the last seven. Placemaking became a significant part of my work about five years ago, initiated by a collaboration with Ben Kent, a friend actively involved in Inglewood on Beaufort.

Through Ben, I contributed to various projects, including a campaign for the Kalgoorlie Town Center and Canning Bridge.

My job as a designer was to create a brand entity that visually captured the essence and character of these neighbourhoods, a challenging yet rewarding exploration of what makes each place unique. My interest in placemaking stems from here, and the belief that connection to place is vital to happiness.

What motivates you to contribute to the local Town Team?

As a homeowner invested in the area, I aspire to witness its improvement. The flexibility in my freelance work allows me to actively contribute to the community. I view volunteering as a privilege, providing me with the opportunity to connect with interesting people, support local businesses, and give back. In my role as chair, I strive to keep the group motivated and engaged.

When did you start getting involved with the Town Team?

My involvement with placemaking graphics led me to Northbridge Common, a group that was dormant for a while. Recognising the need for revitalisation, I proposed a street party in May 2022, organised in collaboration with Northbridge Common. The success of this event marked a turning point, and I formally joined the group as chair, working alongside committed individuals like Rae, the group’s secretary.

How many people attended the block party?

Estimating around 150 attendees, the block party in May 2022 breathed new life into the group. Collaboration with John Carey and effective word-of-mouth promotion significantly contributed to its success.

Town Team Local Doers Miles Noel Northbridge Common

Do you feel your Town Team contributes to a sense of collectivity in the community?

Absolutely. Organising annual events like the block party fosters connections, preventing loneliness. In addition to such gatherings, we initiated a walking tour project, exploring Northbridge’s historical and cultural sites, uncovering layers such as Indigenous history and the impact of different migration waves.

What challenges do you face as a volunteer?

Volunteering, while rewarding, poses challenges in finding individuals with the time, skills, and sustained energy to execute ideas. Accountability remains a constant struggle in a volunteer-based setup, as commitment levels can vary.

Can you describe Northbridge Common’s structure?

The core group includes myself as chair, Adrienne as treasurer, and Rae as secretary. We’ve had some fantastic new members come on board since this interview was done.

How do you perceive the community’s response to placemaking initiatives?

Observing a trend in placemaking, I’ve noticed a growing desire for connection. Perth seems to house two kinds of individuals – those who leave when dissatisfied and those who actively contribute to positive changes. The potential for innovative ideas is high, given the general support for new initiatives.

Placemaking, for me, is about creating neighbourhoods that people proudly call home, fostering a sense of safety, connection, and support for local businesses. A quote by the American drag queen RuPaul resonates with me: “You’ll find happiness in your own backyard”.

Want to get involved and become a doer in your own community? Head to the Town Team Movement website to learn more.

Photography and interview by Ophélie Barbeauedited by Perth is OK!

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