Development Victoria’s Urban Communities’ team has taken a new approach to community engagement by working with Year 5 students at Keysborough Primary School and the Geography Teacher’s Association of Victoria (GTAV).
Development Victoria owns a site at Springvale South next door to the Keysborough Primary School and the project team identified the school community as key stakeholders.
As well as traditional community engagement, the project team wanted to educate people on urban changes in Melbourne (as Australia’s fastest growing city) and what better way to do this than to start early with students?
Development Victoria worked with the GTAV and the school to develop an urban planning and design curriculum allowing the students to be a part of the project.
As part of the curriculum, Year 5 students were asked to develop proposals open space within the planned residential development at Coomoora Road, Springvale South. During this process, the students learnt about urban planning and were also taken on site to get an understanding of what the site could become.
David Partington, a Development Manager from the Urban Communities’ team said the school engagement program created a connection between Development Victoria and the community through the eyes of those who will be most influential in the future and who could someday be residents in the development.
“Encouraging the students to interact with us increases their understanding of how they can better shape where they live,” David said.
This project is one of the ways Development Victoria is looking at innovative options to engage with the community and stakeholders.
“Community engagement is always at the forefront of our planning and this project has allowed us to extend our reach into the community through stakeholders at the school, including teachers, parents and students,” David said.
“It also allowed us to gain an understanding of what is most important to the Springvale community and how we can accommodate this in our project planning.“
Our role is to make Victoria a better place to live in. This is demonstrated through engagement programs such as this, where education helps design communities and provides future leaders with the skills and understanding of what it takes to make important decisions about urban planning.
”The winning students designed three spaces for consideration within the future development, including a community garden for residents and the community; a playground for children and adults to meet and make friends; and a recreation space for picnics, exercise and for dogs to enjoy off-leash.
The ideas will be now shared at the Geography Teachers Association of Victoria annual conference in September. Development Victoria will also take on board the ideas when it undertakes the next stage of planning on the Springvale South project.
Development Victoria is keen to hear from other schools across Melbourne which would benefit from this kind of project.
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