We’re developing a neighbourhood approach to better understand the strengths, priorities and needs of our local communities and build the foundation for a more empowered, engaged, and participatory community.
Phase one of our Participate Kensington consultation ran between 11 November and 22 December 2021, with a wide variety of consultation channels used to achieve broad and inclusive community reach.
The Participate Melbourne website was a key engagement platform featuring a detailed online survey, an interactive map, a short fill in the gaps postcard and a community wall. Targeted phone surveys, community conversations and events were held to further capture feedback.
This included sessions at the Kensington Public Housing Estate in collaboration with weekly food support programs, pop-ups at Holland Park, the Kensington Christmas market, the Kensington Association end of year event, weekday café session on Bellair st, and drop in sessions at The Venny and the Kensington Neighbourhood House.
Feedback was also gathered at a weekly seniors lunch activity, a workshop with mothers involved in a playgroup for culturally diverse families, a local homework club and presentation to the Kensington Community Network. We also worked in partnership with the Kensington Community Children’s Co-operative (KCCC) to involve around 80 children in the consultation.
More than 5000 postcards inviting feedback were distributed to every household in Kensington and feedback stations set up across 5 key community facilities to also gather local input. There was both advertising and feature stories in the local newspaper and social media post through the City of Melbourne’s channels and other local facebook posts from the Kensington Neighbourhood House, Kensington Good Karma Network and more. The project was also promoted through a number of newsletters and direct emails.
Who we heard from
- 7% 18-25 year olds
- 18% 26-30 year olds
- 27% 31-40 year olds
- 19% 41-50 year olds
- 12% 51-60 year olds
- 11% 61-70 year olds
- 5 71+ year olds
- 65% female
- 32% male
- 1% non-binary or gender diverse
- 23% of respondents spoke languages other than English at home.
- Top languages included: Spanish, Mandarin, Italian, French, German, Somali, Arabic, Vietnamese, Greek and Oromo
- 91% indicated that they lived in Kensington.
- 6% were workers or business owners.
- 1% were students.
- Another 3% indicated other responses including: future residents, property owners and people both living and working in Kensington.
- Less than a year 11%
- 1-5 years 34%
- 5-10 years 19%
- 10-20 years 15%
- More than 20 years 16%
What we heard
- Location close to the city.
- Strong sense of community and ‘village feel’.
- Many parks and green space.
- Good public transport and overall connectivity.
- Housing availability and affordability, though this perception is changing
Many respondents outlined they were happy with Kensington as is, and would not like Kensington to change. Others key themes highlighted included:
- Reducing traffic and improving parking management, including possible removal of level crossings.
- More investment in bike and pedestrian infrastructure.
- More parks, planting and open space. Especially between Moonee Ponds Creek and Craigieburn railway line.
- More community activations and events, using open spaces and other venues.
- Rejuvenation of areas like the main shopping strips.
- Protecting local heritage and character and ensuring new development heights and density are appropriate to the neighbourhood.
- More cafes, restaurants and bars creating buzz and vibrancy in the neighbourhood.
Key responses to this question included:
- More parks and green spaces, including off-leash dog parks.
- Improved biking and walking infrastructure especially along Macaulay Rd, Kensington Road and Racecourse Rd.
- More community services like library programs, events spaces, maker or repair space and more programs for young people and older people as well as support for families.
- More facilities like outdoor seating and shelters, drinking fountains, rubbish bins and safe, clean public toilets.
- Expanding outdoor sport and recreation facilities – and other programs especially while the Kensington Community Recreation Centre is being developed.
We asked respondents to identify their level of agreement or disagreement with each statement:
- The statement respondents most strongly agreed with was It is important that I’m connected to my local community, with 88% either agreeing (43%) or strongly agreeing (45%).
- Just over half of respondents either agreed (43%) or strongly agreed (8%) that the City of Melbourne understands the needs of the community.
- Three quarters of respondents indicated they feel connected to their local community
- I am informed about what’s happening in the community and I feel empowered to participate in community life received similar levels of agreement (64% and 63% respectively.)
Safety was rated on a scale of 1 to 5, from least to most safe. The results were:
- 1: 1%
- 2: 5%
- 3: 17%
- 4: 58%
- 5: 18%
Those who felt safe said:
- The sense of community and connectedness in Kensington contributed to this feeling.
- People haven’t had any issues or been in a position to feel unsafe.
Those who felt neutral said:
- Concerns about harassment or other aggressive behaviour.
- Feeling uncomfortable walking alone.
- A rise in burglaries and car/bike thefts.
Those who felt unsafe said:
- Reports of thefts and burglaries.
- Incidents of harassment of other aggressive behaviour.
Respondents said they could count on the following people for help in a crisis:
- 71% friends
- 69% family
- 68% neighbours
19% of respondents have an emergency kit, 81% don't.
Neighbourhood priorities for Kensington
- Greater recognition and opportunity to learn about Wurundjeri heritage and culture.
- Establishing a local Reconciliation Action Group.
Access and affordability
- Housing that caters to diverse needs and homelessness support.
- Improving access to library services and programs
- Supporting people in ages and stages.
- Better utilisation of community venues and access.
- Enhancing recreation spaces and programs.
- Growing and producing food and having access to fresh and healthy food.
- Demand for new community infrastructure including: secondary school, sessional kindergarten and childcare care.
- Initiatives to support and encourage inclusion, diversity and accessibility.
Climate and biodiversity emergency
- Restoration and revitalisation of Moonee Ponds Creek and its surrounds.
- Sustainability programs and initiatives to support climate action, and increase neighbourhood resilience including disaster preparedness.
- Reducing waste and developing circular economy – support repair hubs and local community waste initiatives.
- Increase neighbourhood greening – especially native plants.
- Invest in and advocate for renewable energy - including electric vehicle infrastructure.
Economy of the future
- Diversification of shops and businesses in Kensington, and beautification of shopping strips.
- Supporting local businesses and employment pathways.
Melbourne’s unique identity and place
- Increase and enhance parks and open space especially between Moonee Pond Creek and Craigieburn railway line.
- An increased focus on Arts and Culture – creative spaces, programs and activities for all ages.
- Protecting local heritage and character and retaining the ‘village feel’.
- Dogs off leash areas and increasing responsible pet ownership education and enforcement.
Safety and wellbeing
- Improving traffic and parking management.
- Better bike and walking infrastructure.
- Improving public transport – especially areas in and around local train stations.
- Providing opportunities for people to connect through local events and activities.
- Improving local amenity and safety in parks and open space.
In this second phase of engagement we presented the draft neighbourhood priorities we’d developed based on community feedback received at the end of 2021. We wanted to check in with community again to understand how well we’d captured the priorities, and whether there was anything missing or if refinements could be made.
Phase two consultations ran from 22 March – 19 April 2022.
Kensington residents, businesses, workers and visitors were all invited to take part. Our Participate Melbourne website was the key engagement tool featuring the draft priorities and findings from Phase One engagement, a short online survey and a ‘chat with us’ function to book in a time to speak with our Neighbourhood Partner.
A range of pop-up activities and sessions were held with community to gather feedback and enable participation from a broader range of people.
This included pop-up sessions on Macaulay Rd, at JJ Holland Park, the Kensington Housing Estate, the Kensington Town Hall and The Venny. Sessions were also run with students at Kensington Primary school, presentations given to the Kensington Association and Kensington Community Network, and more.
Engagement activities included: bookmarks distributed to key community venues, a display featured at the Kensington train station and Kensington Town Hall, and numerous social media posts sent through the City of Melbourne and local groups’ channels. Activities were featured in local newspaper articles and promoted through a number of newsletters and direct emails.
Who we heard from
- 62% female
- 37% male
- Live 76%
- Visit 11.5%
- Own a business or work 11.5%
- 38% people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds
- 19% people living on a low income
- 6.4% people who identify as LGBTIQ
- 3.4% people living with a disability
- 2.1% people who identify as Aboriginal
Traditional Owner consultation
Two initial workshops were held with Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Elders. Workshops will continue as the Neighbourhood Portals develop over time.
Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Elders provided a range of feedback including a strong desire to use Neighbourhood Portals as an opportunity to increase understanding and awareness of Aboriginal culture and history across the city.
They shared that they feel responsible for visitors on their Country and this includes an ongoing role to look out for and respect people, animals and the environment.They reminded us to slow down amongst the bustle of the city and take the time to learn and appreciate more about our ongoing Aboriginal history and culture.
What we heard
Many felt the draft Kensington neighbourhood priorities were captured ‘well’ or ‘very well’ with 83.8 per cent of people rating the draft priorities either 4 or 5 out of a maximum of 5.
Nearly 11 per cent rated them as 3 out of 5 or ‘average’. While 4 per cent rated the draft priorities 2 out of 5 or ‘somewhat’. Only one participant rated them a 1 out of 5.
Comments relating to specific interests or concerns included:
- Some people wanted more emphasis on digital inclusion initiatives. Some also highlighted strong support for Pop-up Library opportunities including a regular ‘story time’ session.
- Others highlighted concerns about the impacts of construction and the need to try to minimise this.
- A few comments were received around recreation priorities. These included improving JJ Holland Park scoreboard and lighting for night games, ensuring programming is responsive to community needs - especially Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities - and a desire for more community involvement in this programming.
- Dogs off leash continued to attract more comments with people also wanting clearer information about pet-owner opportunities and responsibilities at JJ Holland Park.
- Two people highlighted the need to plan for flooding, with recent interstate experiences raising concern about preparedness for such events.
- Views were mixed on the idea of possible level crossing removal, especially for the Kensington train station.
- The local amenity and safety priority attracted commentary with people wanting to ensure graffiti, litter, drinking fountains, cleaner toilets and odours from nearby industry were addressed.
- Some also expressed concern and cynicism about how these priorities would be realised.
- The importance of providing translations and interpreters for community information was also emphasised by some participants.
- Others highlighted themes that resonated with them and the need to strengthen some elements of draft priorities including: road safety, improving active travel, increased greening, protecting local heritage and character, improving amenity and reducing waste.
We have refined the priorities based on the feedback received.
- A new priority focus on ‘Construction and Disruption’ and working to identify ways to minimise the impact of major works on local people.
- Broadening the library access priority to also cover digital inclusion initiatives.
- Amending the recreation priority to mention exploring lighting and scoreboard improvements to JJ Holland Park and further strengthening planning and programming with diverse communities.
- The community space at the Kensington Housing Estate has recently been opened again, so wording around the Community Venues priorities has been updated to reflect this.
- Some minor changes to the wording of a number of priorities have been made based on the feedback outlined above.
From April to May 2022 we undertook user testing with a diverse range of community members in small focus groups to assess the usability of the CBD and Kensington Neighbourhood Portals. These portals are being developed as a one-stop shop for neighbourhood connection and planning.
Sixteen community members participated in four sessions across four focus areas:
- International Students
- Members of the Disability Advisory Committee
- Young People
- Older People
Participants were asked to complete simple navigation tasks and provide feedback on their experience.
What we heard
Overall, participants understood and supported the idea and execution of the portals.
Participants provided useful feedback that then influenced the portal’s design and content, and improved accessibility and functionality.
Participants said they were 80 per cent likely to use a Neighbourhood Portal in the future.
We are using the community feedback gathered during the user testing sessions to further refine and improve the portal structure, navigation and content to increase community access and usage.