William McCormack Place 2
Queensland | Regional
The Hilton pocket park presents several realistic approaches to improve planning for public open space within a small budget. Both the design methodology and community engagement approach represent innovative methods which could be applied to a range of locations and projects.
In 2014, Council formed a working group comprising elected officials, and community members with relevant professional backgrounds, to direct the project. In developing the strategy and its priorities, mapping analysis was undertaken to identify the gaps in public green space across the city. This site identification involved detailed ‘real’ walkable catchment mapping and analysis with a 10-point assessment/feasibility matrix.
From this process, a section of residential Hilton and commercial/industrial O’Conner was identified.
It was noted that planning policy and controls were a barrier to change, as they would not support public open space in these areas. The working group therefore analysed different ways to develop open space for these communities, and it was proposed that an unused section of a cul de sac in Clarke Street, Hilton, if developed as a small pocket park, would benefit the workers and residents in this area.
This idea was tested creatively with the community and proved to be highly supported. The community consultation and engagement for this project was detailed and specific to the locals who would be using it. For example, the process included providing an overview of the implementation and specific details of the project (including its key components) to residents. Furthermore, demographic analysis and talking to the residents showed a high number of families with children, so engagement was also tailored for children (design workshop) as well as a community ‘walk around’ session, online survey and design workshop with planners and landscape architects.
The project concept design was developed from engagement feedback, and the community remained engaged in the coordination of construction drawings, quotes and construction. The park was completed in December 2017 and included a well-attended community planting day.
By combining a creative approach to site identification, and an innovative way of engaging with the community, the neighbourhood will benefit from a new public open space in a walkable catchment from their homes. Without the approach used in this project, currently planning policy would not have delivered this positive outcome.