What is social infrastructure?

Social Infrastructure is the physical and human assets that support the community in building community life, fostering social inclusion and developing a city where people are cohesive, aware and engaged. Definitions of social infrastructure often refer to its role in contributing to people’s quality of life and providing ‘the glue that binds communities together’.

The Social Infrastructure Planning Framework sees social infrastructure as falling into a number of categories:

·  ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ forms of social infrastructure

·  provided by ‘Council’ and by ‘non-Council’ organisations

·  ‘foundation’ and ‘supporting’ Council assets.

‘Hard’ social infrastructure is Council’s community facilities in which social services, community, cultural development or recreational activities take place. ‘Hard’ social infrastructure provides accessible facilities, places and spaces for people to get together to achieve ‘soft’ social infrastructure outcomes.

‘Soft’ social infrastructure is comprised of community activities, relationships, services and networks that contribute to community life, social inclusion and the development of social capital.

‘Foundation’ social infrastructure facilities are intended for wide community use, are utilised by the community on a daily basis and provide community spaces for a variety of activities. ‘Foundation’ infrastructure includes multipurpose community meeting spaces, libraries and cultural spaces. ‘Foundation’ social infrastructure is either managed and operated directly by Council, or is managed on behalf of Council under licence, by a community group.

‘Supporting’ social infrastructure assets usually have a more specific, principal use, usually by a single (or ‘anchor’) organisation, that has an ongoing association with the facility. Although not used by as wide a cross-section of the community, ‘supporting’ social infrastructure is a resource for everyone.


What Council community, cultural and recreational facilities are covered by Places for People?

Places for People includes most, but not all types of Council social infrastructure. It does not include outdoor recreation areas or open space. The types of facilities that are covered by the framework are:

‘Foundation’

  • Community Centres
  • Neighbourhood Centres
  • Community Halls
  • Libraries
  • Wollongong Art Gallery
  • Cultural and performance venues

‘Supporting’

  • Senior’s Centres
  • Youth Centre
  • Early Childhood Health Centres
  • Men’s Sheds
  • Scout and Guide Halls
  • Surf Clubs
  • Sports Clubhouses and meeting rooms


What are the main factors that Places for People considers in planning for social infrastructure?

Council’s vision and guiding principles for social infrastructure planning, lay the foundation for the framework, while factors as diverse as geography, transport, community needs, population change and distribution, housing density, cultural diversity, the location and distribution of existing infrastructure and the type, quality and location of non-Council infrastructure, are also key considerations for planning.

The importance of each factor will vary, depending on the characteristics of each Planning Area or Catchment, the ‘type’ of social infrastructure (‘hard’ or ‘soft’; ‘foundation’ or ‘supporting’) being planned and the activities it is intended to support.

Planning for the future of community facilities will involve careful evaluation, selection and weighting of the range of factors, as well as ongoing engagement and collaboration between Council, community and stakeholders.


What does Places for People mean for the facilities I use?

Places for People will be rolled out over a ten year period. The framework will be applied when Council plans new facilities; when we renew, re-purpose or replace existing facilities; and when we consider options for facilities that have reached the end of their useful life.

An important element of Places for People is the desire of Council to increase utilisation of all Council social infrastructure and to ensure that the facilities we offer match the needs of local communities, now and into the future.


Who was consulted in developing Places for People?

Council consulted internal and external stakeholders, as well as the broader Wollongong community between August and October 2017. More than 170 people participated in the consultation process. Direct invitations to participate were sent to identified stakeholders (eg: representatives of scouts and guides, community organisations, sporting clubs, NSW health) and this was complemented by comprehensive local media coverage, encouraging people to have their say.

Consultation included:

  • Internal Stakeholder Workshop with Council staff involved in planning and delivering social infrastructure
  • External Stakeholder Workshop with representatives of the groups and organisations that manage facilities on behalf of Council, are key occupants of facilities, or regularly utilise Council facilities
  • Visits to Community Facilities / Licensees by Elton Consulting
  • Workshop with representatives from Council’s Neighbourhood Forums
  • Community Survey – available online and at Council libraries and community facilities
  • Stakeholder Survey for groups and organisations: that regularly utilise Council facilities

The results of Council’s 2017 Community Satisfaction Survey were also considered.