Lesney Street community

The aim of interview sessions with the local community of Lesney Street, Richmond, was to discover as much about the local community as possible. Questions asked of residents included:

  • Personal details: name, age, gender.
  • Work: occupation, location of work.
  • Household: family size, ownership of house.
20141002 lesney community #1
Personal details, work, distance travelled to work.
20141002 lesney community #2
The household.

Based on findings from the consultation process, a few conclusions can be drawn about the community:

  • There is a rich mix of age groups, from young couples, to families, to older couples.
  • Most of the community owns their own houses and have lived on the street for a long time, from 7 to 30 years.
  • Most of the community is retired. If residents do work, they work close to home.
  • The majority of residents (80%) use a car to travel to and from work.
20141002 lesney community #3
Access to private open space.

The following conclusions can be drawn about access to private open space:

  • The whole community has access to private gardens.
  • 30% have a garage, only 10% have a driveway and use them for parking.

20141002 lesney community #4

Issues raised by the community:

  • Cars speed up along the narrow residential street.
  • There is Insufficient car parking for residents. This is due to people parking their cars on local streets and walking to East Richmond train station, nearby tram stops and Church Street.
  • The street surface is poorly maintained.
  • The green area along the fence bordering the train verge is poorly maintained, possibly due to uncertainty surrounding ownership of this space.
  • Noise from the nearest pub.

Image sources

  1. Personal details, work, distance, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. The household.
  3. Access to private open space.
  4. Issues.

Lesney Street traffic conclusions

Traffic surveys of Lesney Street, Richmond, identified three different paths for traffic movement through the street. The overall observation shows that the majority of traffic uses Lesney Street as a thoroughfare, compared with arriving at or departing the street.

20141002 lesney traffic conclusions #1

The diagram shows the three different paths of traffic used by cars in Lesney Street, a one way residential street. Route A travels part of the way through Lesney Street and makes a left turn onto Brighton Street; Route B travels along Lesney Street to access Church Street; and Route C arrives into Lesney Street from Brighton Street to access Church Street.

20141002 lesney traffic conclusions #2

This diagram compares the weekday and weekend use of Lesney Street by cars, bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians (including with prams and pets, and using the pedestrian foot bridge). We can see that the majority of cars take Route C from Brighton Street (71% on weekdays; 87% on weekends). We can also see that the majority of pedestrians take Route B (91% on weekdays; 97% on weekends).

20141002 lesney traffic conclusions #3

This diagram shows the average amount of time each mode of transport spends in Lesney Street and the speed at which they travel.

20141002 lesney traffic conclusions #4
Weekday activities

Based on observations, during weekdays:

  • Majority of pedestrians using Lesney Street are residents who walk alone to and from work in formal attire.
  • In the late evening, pedestrian traffic is significantly heavier heading to and from Church and Swan Streets. Pedestrians walking back are seen carrying their groceries from the nearest Coles supermarket.
  • In off-peak periods, one car journey was observed every 14 seconds travelling at an average speed of 30 km/h.
  • Bicycle usage is low in both peak and off-peak periods.
  • Pedestrian use is consistent throughout the day.

20141002 lesney traffic conclusions #5

During the weekend:

  • Pedestrian are generally in small groups: families and couples.
  • In the late evening, car traffic is significantly heavier for both Route A and Route C.
  • Pedestrian traffic is equally heavy in the morning, afternoon and evening. Pedestrians regularly park their cars along Lesney and Brighton Streets to walk to Church Street for shopping.
  • One car journey was observed every 13 seconds travelling at an average speed of 40 km/h.
  • Bicycle usage increases slightly in the afternoon.
  • Pedestrian use is consistent throughout the day.
  • In the evening, cars speed up significantly and are mostly taxis.

A summary of conclusions that have come from the above analysis is as follows:

  • Lesney Street is subject to light car traffic.
  • Car usage is significantly higher along Route B and Route C. Cars use the street as a thoroughfare from Brighton Street to Church Street.
  • Car speed is approximately 40 km/h, which is fast for a one way, residential street.
  • Cars that arrive into Lesney Street are parked for shopping along Church Street.
  • Pedestrians use the pedestrian bridge predominantly to access Swan Street.
  • Lesney Street is well used by pedestrians throughout the day.

Image sources

  1. Traffic routes, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. Traffic comparison between weekdays and weekends.
  3. Average travel times.
  4. Weekday analysis.
  5. Weekend analysis.

Lesney Street traffic analysis

The following traffic analysis was conducted during a series of one hour observations of Lesney Street, Richmond.

20141004 lesney street traffic #1

The observations were made during the following periods:

  • Weekday morning peak
  • Weekday afternoon
  • Weekday evening peak
  • Weekend morning
  • Weekend afternoon
  • Weekend evening

The following data was collected:

  • Number of cars, bicycles, pedestrians and pedestrians using the pedestrian foot bridge (including pedestrians accompanied by prams or dogs).
  • Direction of travel along Lesney Street.
  • Number of arrivals into and departures from properties on the street.
  • Average time taken to travel along Lesney Street.

20141002 lesney street traffic #4

Weekday morning peak
Friday 22nd August 2014
8 – 9am
10 degrees
Average car speed: 20 – 40 km/h

20141002 lesney street traffic #5

Weekday afternoon
Thursday 21st August 2014
5 – 6pm
16 degrees
Average car speed: 20 – 40km/h

20141002 lesney street traffic #6

Weekday evening peak
Thursday 21st August 2014
7 – 8pm
12 degrees
Average car speed: 30km/h

20141002 lesney street traffic #7

Weekend morning
Saturday 23rd August 2014
10 – 11am
14 degrees
Average car speed: 20km/h

20141002 lesney street traffic #8

Weekend afternoon
Saturday 23rd August 2014
3 – 4pm
18 degrees
Average car speed: 20 – 40km/h

20141002 lesney street traffic #9

Weekend evening
Saturday 23rd August 2014
6 – 7pm
15 degrees
Average car speed: 30 – 50km/h

Image sources

  1. Lesney Street, this and subsequent images copyright the author.
  2. Weekday morning peak.
  3. Weekday afternoon.
  4. Weekday evening peak.
  5. Weekend morning.
  6. Weekend afternoon.
  7. Weekend evening.

Lesney Street

20140915 lesney street #1

Lesney Street is 270m long and runs east-west between Church and Mary Streets. It is intersected in the middle by Brighton Street, which runs south towards the Yarra River. The street is located next to a below-grade train line. The closest train station is East Richmond Station, which is located on the opposite side of Church Street.

The street is predominantly residential in character, with all 17 dwellings located on the south side of the street. Dwellings are a mixture of one and two storeys. On the north side of the street there is a narrow planting strip, then a step drop down to the train tracks. The street is 7m wide, 5m of which is asphalt. It is a one way street running from east to west. Close to the interaction with Brighton Street, there is a narrow footbridge over the train tracks that connects to Swan Street.

20140915 lesney street #2
Green embankment
20140915 lesney street #3
Pedestrian footbridge

Observations of the street and its context include:

  • Traffic along Church Street can be really busy, especially during peak hours.
  • Lesney Street receives traffic noise from cars, trams and trains.
  • The industrial and commercial buildings on the north side of the train embankment overshadow the residential area on the south side.
  • The green embankment bordering the train tracks is not properly maintained, with many plants appearing to be dead or dying.
  • There is potential in extending the street north past the embankment and repurposing this reclaimed space.
  • The pedestrian bridge is 2.8m wide and 30m in length. It is heavily used by pedestrians wanting to access Swan Street.

Image sources

  1. Lesney Street site plan, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. Green embankment.
  3. Pedestrian footbridge.

Melba Ward analysis

20140915 melba ward #1

Melba Ward analysis:

20140915 melba ward #6
Building types
20140915 melba ward #5
Parks and trees

There are only two public parks / reserves located in this area, the Carin Reserve and Dame Nellie Melba Memorial Park. Carin Reserve is a small semi-public park with a modest playground.

20140915 melba ward #4

The area can be easily accessed by tram routes that run along Bridge Road, Church Street and Swan Street. There is no complete bike route within the residential area, however low car speed makes it generally safe to cycle.

20140915 melba ward #3
Street types

The area is a residential pocket bordered by commercial main streets, and can be easily accessed by car or tram.

20140915 melba ward #2

This part of the Melba Ward is bordered by Bridge Road to the north, Church Street to the east, Burnley Street to the west and Swan Street to the south. It consists of mainly residential buildings, with a perimeter of commercial buildings facing onto the main streets.

Other observations include:

  • Parallel parking is the most commonly used parking type.
  • The majority of streets are planted with trees.
  • Street types are mostly residential streets and laneways.

The residential area is located adjacent to busy main roads and likely receive traffic noise from cars and trams. There are few parks and green areas, limiting local residents’ opportunities for outdoor activities. The commercial perimeter of the study area provides convenient access for residents to cafes and shops.

Image sources

  1. Site map, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. Building types.
  3. Parks and trees.
  4. Transport.
  5. Street types.
  6. Analysis. 

Crowdfunding for architecture

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a reward-based funding organisation that raises startup money for projects from a large number of people (or crowd). It relies on a web-based platform to handle communication between project leaders and community supporters. Projects supported range in scale from small to large.

Kickstarter is an independent company employing 86 people and based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

How does crowdfunding work?

Kickstarter provides a platform and resources for independently curated projects. It is not directly involved in the development of the projects.

  1. Projects are pitched to the public on the Kickstarter website in order to attract financial pledges.
  2. Project creators set a funding goal and deadline.
  3. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen. Pledges might range from $5 to $10,000, with each level of support earning the supporter a pre-determined gift in return.
  4. Funding is all-or-nothing: they must reach their funding goal to receive any of the pledged money.
  5. If a project is successfully funded, 5% of funds collected will be retained by Kickstarter. The rest goes to the project.

Thousands of creative projects are raising funds on Kickstarter right now. Since its launch in 2009, 6.8 million people have pledged $1 billion, funding 66,000 creative projects.

20140828 crowdfunding #1
Successful Kickstarter-based architectural projects have occurred in these countries.

Crowdfunding in Australia

In the United States, a recent study has found that crowdfunding is becoming a driving force behind building and community projects. In Australia, architectural crowd funding has yet to find success, with most projects revolving around smaller goods and services. In Australia:

  • Local regulations inhibit the development of local equity crowdfunding opportunities.
  • The federal government is determined to match the regulatory environment that permits successful crowdfunding in the United States.
  • Cofounder of Australian crowdfunding site Pozible, Rick Chen, can testify to the rapidly expanding local appetite for crowdfunding. When Pozible launched three years ago, it took just over a year for it to raise $1 million.

Projects successfully funded


20140828 crowdfunding #2
ClassActive: Active school
20140828 crowdfunding #3
Hemp building at Idaho BaseCamp
20140828 crowdfunding #4
Boulder Dash Pavillion
20140828 crowdfunding #5
Breakwater Chicago
20140828 crowdfunding #6
The Moiré Pavilion
20140828 crowdfunding #7
Splash House
20140828 crowdfunding #8
Caret 6
20140828 crowdfunding #9
Erect the Ocotillo Observatory

Civic Design

+ Pool, New York
20140828 crowdfunding #11
sLAB Costa Rica
20140828 crowdfunding #12
Seattle’s Chinatown International District parklet
20140828 crowdfunding #13
Librii: New model library in Africa
20140828 crowdfunding #14
The French Quarter Parklet

Detailed case study: Caret 6

20140828 crowdfunding #15

  • 53 backers
  • $5,520 pledged of $5,000 goal

The School of Architecture at the University of Texas hosted an exhibition as part of TEX-FAB 5 SKIN: Digital Assemblies in February 2014. Led by Assistant Professor Kory Bieg and coordinated by 17 architecture students, the Caret 6 installation showcased the SKIN design competition.

Crowdfunding rewards:

  • Pledge $1 or more: Your name will be featured on our blog to show our gratitude.
  • Pledge $10 or more: Your name will be featured on our blog to show our gratitude and you will receive an e-invite to the exhibition opening in February 2014.
  • Pledge $25 or more: You will receive a personalised postcard from the design team and an e-invite to the exhibition opening in February 2014.
  • Pledge $50 or more: You will receive a personalised thank you poster from the design team and an e-invite to the exhibition opening in February 2014.
  • Pledge $500 or more: You will receive a special invitation to a private dinner with the design team, and all of the prizes shown above.

Detailed case study: + Pool

20140828 crowdfunding #16

  • 1,203 backers
  • $41,647 pledged of $25,000 goal

In the United States, when it’s hot during the summer and when you’re surrounded by water, all you want to do is swim in the river. However, the water isn’t that clean. + Pool is our initiative to build a floating pool that filters river water off the shores of New York City, a pool for everyone.

Achieved so far:

  • Launched + Pool in June 2013, with a surprising amount of public and private interest.
  • Interested swimmers, designers, engineers, community organisers and consultants built a team to develop the project.
  • Talked to local cultural, developmental and environmental groups, learning about the waterways and refining the social and ecological performance of the project.
  • Talked to municipal and civic organisations to find out what kinds of permitting and approvals would be needed to get + Pool into the river.
  • Teamed up with Arup and spent the winter studying water quality, structural configurations, energy use, site potentials and of course the filtration system.

Images sources

  1. Crowdfunded architecture map, author’s own image.
  2. ClassAct: Active School by actLAB NYC. Image sourced from Kickstarter.
  3. Hemp building at Idaho BaseCamp by Hempitecture. Image sourced from Kickstarter.
  4. Boulder Dash Pavillion by USC Architecture, Second Year Studio. Image sourced from Kickstarter.
  5. Breakwater Chicago by Breakwater Chicago LLC. Image sourced from Kickstarter.
  6. The Moiré Pavillion by Studio Aiello. Image sourced from Kickstarter.
  7. Splash House by Design Workshop 2011 (Tara Mrowka). Image sourced from Kickstarter.
  8. Caret 6 by Caret 6. Image sourced from Kickstarter.
  9. Erect the Ocotillo Observatory by Lucas Hitch. Image sourced from Kickstarter.
  10. + Pool by Family and PlayLab. Image sourced from Kickstarter.
  11. sLAB Costa Rica by Tobias Holler. Image sourced from Kickstarter.
  12. Seattle’s Chinatown-International District parklet by Chinatown-ID Business Improvement Area. Image sourced from Kickstarter.
  13. Librii: New Model Library in Africa by Architecture for Humanity DC. Image sourced from Kickstarter.
  14. The French Quarter Parklet by Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France. Image sourced from Kickstarter.
  15. Caret 6, copyright Caret 6.
  16. + Pool, copyright Family and PlayLab.