Planning equitably to improve liveability for diverse communities

Greater Cities Commission, NSW

Social trends analysis and place based needs and opportunities reports for the Six Cities

At its core, strategic planning is about supporting people to live sustainable, productive and fulfilling lives. The NSW Six Cities Region is home to increasingly diverse communities living in a range of settings, including urban, regional and semi-rural areas. The multi-city region also includes people of different ages, abilities, genders, sexualities and social, cultural and economic backgrounds.

The Greater Cities Commission (the Commission) engaged Cred Consulting to deliver quantitative and qualitative research to provide a strong evidence base of social and place-based trends, needs and opportunities for diverse communities across the Six Cities Region.

How we did it

Our innovative and comprehensive methodology combined quantitative and qualitative research to provide a holistic understanding of social and place trends, needs and opportunities. Our approach included:

  • an interactive database/Excel report of ABS social indicators, including vulnerabilities for all 43 local government areas, by city and by region
  • high quality visual communication tools including graphically designed maps, infographics, comparative graphics, and persona tools, which provided easy to understand information to influence decision making and improve planning practices and which were used in the city and region plans
  • detailed references and source documents to enable users to research further where interested, GIS based audits and maps of proximity access to schools, hospitals, centres, and public open space zoned for recreation, enabling analysis at a suburb to region level as needed
  • a local to international best practice literature review of barriers and opportunities for diverse and underrepresented cohorts
  • recruited focus groups where participants were paid for their time, which meant that participants were representative of the social and spatial cohorts we needed to engage with rather than just opt-in people of common ages and geographies, and
  • documentation of the lived experience and personal stories of participants in focus groups that provided a rich range of how different communities experience place and access services and infrastructure, which provided an understanding of intersectionality across communities and across the region.

Social trends analysis and place based needs and opportunities reports for the Six Cities by Cred Consulting.

The outcome

This research has directly informed inclusive and people centred planning for the Six Cities Region Plan and each of the city plans. It has also helped to build the skills and knowledge of the Commission’s planning teams and their capability in integrating a human centred approach to planning processes.

The research has found widespread application, being extensively utilised within the Commission to shape strategic planning and initiatives within the Innovation Districts, as well as communication and engagement teams. The methodology, findings, and accompanying data sets and maps can be readily adopted by local governments and government agencies for community and regional social and community resilience planning purposes, spanning from individual sites to broader geographical scales.

People are the heart and soul of the City. Our City must cater to the needs of all people."

Natalie Walker, Social Commissioner