inclusive public spaces in diverse communities

The University Of Melbourne - Semester 2 2019.

Project Description

The corridor of open spaces along Lennox Street, Richmond are examples of ‘contested’ space, with very different people (refugees from different backgrounds, people of different ages and cultures and those with ‘challenging’ behaviours like drug addiction) using the limited spaces available. These issues are at the fore in mid-2018 as the trial of a Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) will commence in July, will be within the corridor study area and will have repercussions for how people use the public realm in this area. We wish to partner with the students of Studio ‘D’ (a Masters of Urban Planning ‘capstone’ studio led by Dr. Andrea Cook) to capitalise on the timing of the MSIC to gather place-based data and generate some community-driven inclusive placemaking in this corridor. The studio leaders and four local partners (the City of Yarra, the Neighbourhood Justice Centre, the Yarra Drug & Health Forum and the Residents for Victoria Street Drug Solutions) have an established research and teaching relationship and we are hoping to build that relationship in Studio ‘D’. The students and partners will conduct social/spatial research in the case study area and make design and policy recommendations for how to improve the spaces as inclusive spaces.

Learning Methodology

This studio involves two three-hour learning sessions per week across 12 weeks and is open to students in the Master of Urban Planning. The studio partners with the City of Yarra, the Neighbourhood Justice Centre, the Yarra Drug and Health Forum and the Residents for Victoria Street Drug Solutions to explore questions of sociability of space, spatial and social justice, diversity, inclusion/exclusion, and displacement in this dynamic inner-city location.
Students will engage in social research with local community members in a supervised manner, to collect local knowledge and experience of public spaces and to reflect the community’s diverse aspirations around access and inclusivity. Students will work with agency and community partners, and with each other to find policy and design responses to the ‘wicked’ social conditions of the area manifesting in the public space.
The studio takes a place-based and applied the approach to social planning in diverse and contested locations and challenges students to produce innovative planning/policy outcomes to challenging questions of ‘who belongs’. It is expected that students enrolling in this studio will develop the following placemaking skills:
• Identifying, assessing and engaging with a range of socio-spatial issues and perspectives;
• Identifying and proposing creative solutions to complex social planning issues observed;
• Identifying and responding to ethical challenges related to social and spatial justice, both as both as related to the site and as relevant to social planning more

How does this studio match PlaceAgency Objectives?

This studio will engage planning studios in strategies to critically engage with challenging communities resulting in strategies that lead to inclusivity. It is asking us to find strategies to embrace others instead of displacing marginalised communities. It is making students face ethical social planning so they may become better practitioners in their professional life.

Activities – Studio Outline

ActivityDescriptionKey dates for activitiesKey learning objectives
Welcome to the StudioIntroduction to the projectTue 24 Jul 2018Identify planning issues
Site Visit 1Meeting partners and walkaboutThe 26 Jul 2018Critical thinking & ethics
Research 101Designing research and policyTue 31 Jul 2018Identify planning issues
Applied ResearchUnpacking local issuesThe 02 Aug 2018Critical thinking & research
Research 101Using social research methodsTue 07 Aug 2018Conducting research & teamwork
Site Visit 2Site auditing / mappingThe 09 Aug 2018Critical thinking & research
Research 101Scoping theoryTue 14 Aug 2018Critical thinking & research
Applied ResearchSite analysis: well-being lensThe 16 Aug 2018Identify ethical challenges
Applied ResearchSite analysis: cultural lensTue 21 Aug 2018Identify ethical challenges
Applied ResearchPiloting community engagementThe 23 Aug 2018Respond through creativity
Site Visit 3Mapping visual dataTue 28 Aug 2018Conducting research & teamwork
Applied ResearchSite analysis placemaking lensThe 30 Aug 2018Respond through creativity
Site Visit 4Engaging community: interviewTue 04 Sep 2018Conducting research & teamwork
Site Visit 5Engaging community: interviewThe 06 Sep 2018Conducting research & teamwork
Applied ResearchSite analysis: citizen lensTue 11 Sep 2018Systems thinking in planning
Site Visit 6Pop-up intervention for dataThe 13 Sep 2018Conducting research & teamwork
Research 101Social research & analysisTue 18 Sep 2018Critical thinking & research
Studio ImprovContent determined by studentsThe 20 Sep 2018Variable
Community presetationPresenting to practitionersTue 02 Oct 2018Communication
Community presetationPresenting to practitionersThe 04 Oct 2018Communication
Studio ImprovContent determined by studentsTue 09 Oct 2018Variable
Studio ImprovContent determined by studentsThe 11 Oct 2018Variable
Research 101Getting to the finish lineTue 16 Oct 2018Project management & evaluate
EvaluationEvaluation workshopThe 18 Oct 2018Project management & evaluate



The following students are enrolled in this studio and have chosen to appear on the Place Agency website. You may access more information about them and their interests by clicking each of their photos.

Akla Nanayakkara
Chenxu Li
Matthew Mukhtar
Brett Hannah
Claudia Lombard
Kho Jiing Lau
Mengxin Liu
Yunbo Lou
Jacob Komesaroff

This subject is available to students enrolled in The University Of Melbourne throughout Semester 2 2019.

I am enrolled in this studio, add me to the studio profile.
Studio Leaders
Andrea CookAndrea Cook
Imogen CarrImogen Carr
Project champion

Greg Denham

Greg Hordacre

Greg Hordacre

Erika Russell

Erika Russell

- Planning

Project Updates

Week 9: Engaging outward

Andrea Cook, Studio Leader Week nine in Studio D (Inclusive Public Spaces in Diverse Communities) was an outward looking week, with a guest lecture on Tuesday and then the student-organised pop up consultations and place activation on Thursday. On Tuesday,…