Little Learners Nature Kindergarten
Western Australia | Urban
The design of the estate focussed on providing attractive green space areas and walkable connections to surrounding transport links and regional recreation facilities. The aim was to create a green and leafy residential environment in a dense inner-city format. Features that can promote health and wellbeing include a variety of public open spaces, water-sensitive urban design, buildings with adequate light and ventilation, direct access paths between housing, bus stops and shops, and the establishment of a sense of community through provision of local facilities and activities.
The NSW Government Development Agency, Landcom, prepared the Victoria Park master plan, constructed the initial roadways, drainage systems and principal parks. Subsequently Landcom undertook the role of ‘master developer’, dividing the site into a number of ‘super lots’ to facilitate subsequent development by multiple private-sector developers. This has allowed for some diversity in architectural styling, tenure, and dwelling configurations. The first residents moved into Victoria Park in 2003 and the East Village shopping centre opened in 2014.
Victoria Park is the initial development site within the larger Green Square urban renewal area located approximately mid-way between the Sydney Central Business District and Sydney airport. The master planned community is designed around a grid-based street network, featuring well connected public open spaces and easy access to public transport. The development is serviced by three local bus routes, and it is a 10-15-minute walk to the Green Square train station.
Green Square is cited as the largest inner-urban renewal project in Australia, and will take place over twenty years. Final development will include extensive residential development on former industrial sites, a new Town Centre with extensive commercial floor space, and a range of community, cultural and recreation facilities.
A key component of the broader redevelopment is an active recreation centre located nearby at Gunyama Park. This centre is due for completion in 2018 and will include an Olympic-sized outdoor pool; various indoor pools; a gymnasium and outdoor training circuit; a multi-purpose sports field/oval; general open space areas; and a crèche.
The Green Square Town Centre will be a mixed-use area with around 4,500 residents; and the overall increase in resident population in the wider Green Square renewal area is estimated to be at least 20,000 or more, with a projected population of 40,000 by 2030. The Victoria Park estate will become part of a substantially enlarged and renewed urban area with access to local employment opportunities, recreation and cultural facilities, and transport, including heavy rail, bus services, and a cycleway linking to Sydney city. There has been community advocacy for the construction of light rail to alleviate pressure on the public transport system as the population grows.
Victoria Park was one of four sites included as a case study in a research project undertaken from 2011-2016 by the Healthy Built Environments Program at UNSW, in partnership with the National Heart Foundation, UrbanGrowth NSW and the South-Western Sydney Local Health District. The objective of the study, entitled Planning and Building Healthy Communities, was to explore and further understand the role the built environment plays in facilitating physical activity, social interaction and access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Using predominantly qualitative methods of data collection, including a detailed audit of the neighbourhood, structured interviews, focus groups, and a community food assessment, the researchers gained a level of insight into the ways in which the neighbourhood did and did not support healthy behaviours at that time. Some of these research findings are included in this case study.