by Cred Consulting
Public open space should be our truly equitable space. According to the United Nations, “…by 2030, cities should provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible green and public spaces, particularly for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the important role high-quality public open spaces play in our communities. Yet, with so many different needs, how do we create welcoming open spaces that are inclusive for all?
Speaking at the 2022 Parks and Leisure Australia National Conference on 17 October, “We must start with needs and listen to our communities about our diverse experiences, interests and priorities, to facilitate public open space outcomes that are planned, designed and managed to be welcoming for all,” said Cred Consulting’s Managing Director, Sarah Reilly.
“We aren’t all the same, and don’t need the same things.”
Sarah shared her insights and experience around the importance of planning for inclusive and activated public open spaces for a range of groups, demonstrating the tools for engaging with our diverse communities and evidence of the quality outcomes that this can deliver.
Of key importance? Starting with a needs-based plan to understand (and remove) the barriers faced by diverse and underrepresented cohorts, and undertake inclusive engagement and co-design with diverse communities.
“At Cred, we believe that inclusive and strategic engagement should be the starting point of any project to provide the opportunity for all people – no matter who you are, where you’re from, how old you are or your abilities – to be part of the conversation from project inception to completion,” explains Sarah.
“No one knows their communities better than the people that live, work and play in them.”
We applied this approach last year while working with Bayside Council to deliver child-oriented engagement on the future regional playspace at Sir Joseph Banks Park, in Sydney’s Botany. “Kids are experts at their own lives,” noted Senior Consultant, Abinaya Rajavelu, who led the creative, fun engagement activities at Cred’s family-friendly on-site consultation event.
“Meaningfully engaging with them can sow the seeds for long-term civic participation, and elicit invaluable planning advice that cannot otherwise be captured.”
Creating welcoming and activated public open spaces is a purpose close to our hearts.
Sarah and our leadership team are thrilled to be reconnecting in person with our peers at this year’s conference and upcoming Awards of Excellence on 18 October, where Cred is nominated for the Strategic and Master Planning Award with Turf Design Studio for our work on City of Parramatta’s ‘Heart of Play Masterplan’ – which demonstrated community-led master planning can not only lead to a higher-sense of ownership and use, but also achieve long-term social and environmental outcomes.
For insights from Sarah’s PLA National Conference presentation, visit: Creating welcoming and activated public open spaces