newport project studio
The University Of Melbourne - Summer 2019.
How might we rethink the challenges of rapid population growth in our neighbourhoods and suburbs as an opportunity to maximise the benefits of public spaces through fostering community participation?
Managing population growth and urban liveability is one of the challenges faced by the Hobson Bay City Council regarding the redevelopment and continuing growth of Newport. For this reason, the tightknit community of Newport was invited to participate in the reimagination of Pain Reserve, a humble open space in the centre of their community. The aim of the project was to look at how this public space could become a more vital and viable part of the community. Led by Donna Jackson of hubcap studios, the project focused on the activation of the underutilised Paine Reserve through a process of co-design involving community and experts. This was achieved through a unique collaboration of artists, community members, business owners, students and academics at the University of Melbourne.
The purpose of the summer design studio was for students to work in groups and generate a set of design ideas for Paine Reserve. Placemaking activities designed for playful and informative community engagement drove design outcomes intended to reflect the community’s desires and wishes. At the end of the studio, the final designs were presented to the community for feedback and reflection.
The studio stemmed from a wider community engagement initiative of Hobson Bay City council. Through placemaking and the collaborative efforts of those involved, Donna Jackson was able to present a set of recommendations to Hobson City council for review that embodied the community’s thoughts and desires.
In a period of 7 weeks the students were immersed in the Newport community, having an opportunity to take all lessons at the Community Hub, which allowed the students to experience Newport area in depth. The studio was open to all built environment disciplines with assessment strategies adapted to allow skill development and evaluation based on their future roles as placemakers.
Students worked collaboratively in small groups to plan, design and implement strategies for community engagement. In turn, designs were driven by the need to reflect and respond to community perceptions gathered during the engagement activities. Groups were required to manage a real budget, safety and policies of the Newport area.
To be effective placemakers, students were challenged to grow their skills with a focus on community engagement and how this process can be genuine, authentic and receptive. Key skills to this process involved active listening, creative engagement and appreciation of the important relationships between planning, design, society and the environment.
How does this studio match PlaceAgency Objectives?
The studio created an opportunity for students to work closely with the local community. Students learned how to approach stakeholders, how to collect data from them, and how to engage the community thoughtfully and playfully in their design process. They explored the challenges of how to design a space that includes the needs of all community members. Students were encouraged to adopt the role of facilitator rather than designer.
Activities – Studio Outline
|Key dates for activities
|Key learning objectives
|Development and research
|Design and placemaking inspirations, visit to railway yards, visit to power station
|Fri 19- Jan
|Engaging the community in the design process
|Take community feedback and make conclusions
|Design interim presentation
|Present first design ideas to community and traders
|Fri 2 Feb
|Responding to feedback
|Present to community
|Wed 21- Feb
|Engage community about the design and collect feedback