Why is Council sending out a Survey?
Council was successful in being awarded a Linkages Grant, partnering with the University of Wollongong and the University of Tasmania to undertake a qualitative research project investigating Wollongong City Centre as the Lively City.
This research spans 3 years and considers the perceptions residents and visitors have of Wollongong City Centre. The work will help us monitor how people’s perceptions of the city centre is responding to a range of revitalisation initiatives in our city centre, and whether perceptions are changing over time.
The feedback from this survey will inform revitalisation initiatives across the city centre.
Importantly, this work will support the quantitative data collected through Wollongong Public Spaces Public Life with qualitative data. While this work will not replace community consultation around WPSPL, it will support and inform the project.
Who is paying for the survey?
The survey was developed in partnership by Council staff and Professors from the University of Wollongong and University of Tasmania. The printing and distribution of the survey itself is funded through the Linkages Grant budget. The analysis of the survey results will be undertaken by a researcher and Professors of the University under the Linkages Grant budget, with support and time invested by Council staff.
What is a Public Space Public Life Study?
A Public Space and Public Life Study (PSPL) has been developed by Gehl Architects as tool which we can use to collect data that will give us a clear picture of the quality and character of our City Centre’s public spaces and the way people use and interact in these spaces and places.
The focus of the study is around how people feel and interact in a space or place, and that creating streets and places for people will invite people to be part of the life of a city.
PSPL studies have a common methodology that the quality of the streets and spaces within a City influences the way people interact and use a City.
The PSPL Study will provide us with important information that will help to provide an evidence based understanding of our City.
Where have Public Space Public Life studies been carried out?
Public Space Public Life Studies (PSPL) have been undertaken across a wide range of cities in many parts of the world.
PSPL studies have been carried out in major cities such as New York, London, Perth, Copenhagen, Adelaide, as well as in regional cities in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Scandinavia.
Now in 2014 it is Wollongong's turn.
What will a Public Space Public Life study tell us?
The PSPL Study will provide Council with a large amount of data and tell us about the quality of our City from the perspective of the pedestrian.
PSPL data will tell us how people are using our City and provide important information about the quality and comfort of Wollongong City Centre. We will learn how many people are walking through our streets, and where people stop and enjoy the City. We will have data on a range of indicators from how many cafe seats are located around the City to the time it takes to walk between the City and the Harbour.
Data collected through the PSPL study will allow Wollongong City to track how we are progressing on revitalisation initiatives, and also benchmark our City against other national and international cities which have conducted identical surveys. Many of these cities have gone on to improve city life based on Gehl Architect's practical recommendations.
In consultation with the Community, the PSPL Study will identifiy a range of short, medium and long term
recommendations for enhancing our City’s quality and vibrancy.
What will we have at the end of the project?
At the end of the process, we will have a report called Wollongong Public Space Public Life (PSPL) which will provide a clear analysis of the quality of our City spaces and places, and a set of recommendations to guide the delivery of a liveable and vibrant City Centre.
Importantly, we will also have a comprehensive set of data on our City that will help the Council to better understand the the quality and character of our City. This data will also act as a benchmark so we can measure change as we implement a range of short, medium and long term projects in our City.
Importantly, not only will the study provide an greater understanding of our own City Centre, it will also allow Wollongong to compare itself with other international and national cities which have also undertaken identical PSPL studies. This comparison will allow Wollongong to benchmark our performance with comparable cities around the world.
What have other Public Space Public Life studies been used for?
Public Space Public Life studies have been used across the world to help promote many diverse projects.
Some examples are listed below;
- City of Sydney's transformation of George Street and cycle network roll out
- City of New York's reconfiguration of Times Square and Broardway, new public realm vision and cycle network roll out
- City of Adelaide's laneway activation strategy
- City of London's 100 Public Spaces policy , summer streets and small scale urban design interventions.
- City of Melbourne's Postcode 3000, public domain upgrades, outdoor cafe policy & pedestrianisation of key streets.
Why are we using Gehl Architects from Copenhagen?
Gehl Architects focus on the relationship between the built environment and people’s quality of life. They are an urban research and design consultancy based in Copenhagen who address global trends with a people-focused approach, utilising empirical analysis to understand how the built environment can promote great places for people.
Public Spaces Public Life is a unique appraoch to city planning, which uses empiricle survey and mapping methods developmed by Professor Jan Gehl over the past 50 years.
Gehl Architect's offer is unique, and they are the only company who can provide this consultancy service.
How valid will the data be while the Mall and GPT are under construction?
By their nature, cities are continuously in transition. All construction projects underway in the City will be considered in the interpretation and application of data collected for Wollongong Public Spaces Public Life.
The information being collected is very diverse. Some data sets are directly influenced by construction projects underway in the City, and others are not.
Council is committed to undertake additional registrations (people counts) in early 2015 to record how people are moving through the City following the completion of construction in the Mall and GPT. This information will be integrated and considered in the analysis of data prior to making recommendations.