Gipps and Stanley Streets community

My previous project installment mentioned that next step of Streets Without Cars would be to consult the local community on who you are, and what you might want to see happen with the project. Here is the site plan again, showing the residents considered as part of this analysis, and how many agreed to take part in the survey:

20141007 gipps and stanley community #1
Survey respondents

The survey dealt with two areas of information, and this entry will deal with the first – demographics – which sought to learn about who this project is to cater for. Here is what was discovered:

Gender, age and ownership

20141007 gipps and stanley community #2

The division of genders and age was fairly even, as expected based on empirical observations. The divide between owners and renters was much more notable however, with an overwhelming majority of households surveyed being the owners of their own homes. This will be interesting when interpreting your thoughts on the future of this project, as it implies many of you will most likely live in the area for the foreseeable future, and therefore feel the impact of such a project more intensely.

Household types and private open space

20141007 gipps and stanley community #3

The typical terrace houses which dominate the area are generally quite large, thus it comes as no surprise that the average number of occupants for a household is nearly three, with families with children being a common household typology. Private spaces were also quite similar across the properties surveyed, with the usages of these spaces also being quite similar. The most surprising result here is the distinct lack of usable spaces adjacent to the street – all of the functional outdoor spaces were located at the rear of each property.

Household averages

20141007 gipps and stanley community #4

The average length of time each resident has lived in the area was higher than initially expected, but not surprising giving the high number of you who own your own home.

The daily commute

20141007 gipps and stanley community #5

As the area of focus is an inner Melbourne suburb, it comes as no surprise that residents can easily access all parts of Melbourne. The large variety in daily commute destinations suggests that you wholeheartedly take advantage of this centralised location.

Commute transport modes

20141007 gipps and stanley community #6

Despite the close proximity to Richmond railway station and relatively low average commute distance, very few of you indicated that you use public transport, instead opting to drive. This is quite surprising, and will be a key consideration in moving forwards with the planning of this project.


20141007 gipps and stanley community #7

A fairly even distribution of professions was reported, but it didn’t seem to correlate to distance travelled in daily commutes, or to any opinion expressed in the second part of the survey.

To summarise, here are the findings based on this demographic component of the survey:

  • There is a fairly even divide of genders and ages throughout the area.
  • An overwhelming majority of you own your own home.
  • Functional outdoor spaces are a rarity at the front of houses, but very common at the rear of houses.
  • Further to this, most outdoor spaces are too small to accommodate anything beyond sedentary activities such as sitting and relaxing or dining. Many rear courtyards also function as car spaces, despite the street offering adequate parking the majority of the time. Residents with children indicated that even with rear courtyards, there wasn’t enough space for the children to play, and instead opted to play at the rear of their properties, where there is significantly less traffic than Stanley or Gipps Streets.
  • Driving is the preferred method of transport, despite living in close proximity to Richmond railway station and an average commute distance of only 7.35km.

Coming up next will be the results of what you thought of the street, and how you can see it being improved.

Image sources

1. Survey respondents, this and subsequent images copyright the author.
2. Gender, age and ownership
3. Households and private open space.
4. Miscellaneous averages.
5. Commute destinations.
6. Commute transport modes.
7. Occupationals.


Railway and Brunswick Streets community

Interviews were conducted with local residents of Railway and Brunswick Streets, Fitzroy North. They provided their opinions on the research project thus far. The aim of the survey series was to gain insight into the local community and how they use the site.

The following graphics represent the findings of the surveys:

20141003 railway community #1

20141003 railway community #2

20141003 railway community #3

20141003 railway community #4

Based on these research findings, the following conclusions were made:

  • There is a mix of household types from young families, share houses and retirees.
  • There is an almost even mix of owners and renters.
  • For those who are relatively new to living in their current residence, they have been locals of the area for a significant amount of time.
  • There is a significantly low number of bicycles owned.
  • There is a high percentage of car ownership per household.

20141003 railway community #5

20141003 railway community #6

These access and usage patterns reveal the following:

  • Half of the residents have access to a private courtyard, of varying sizes.
  • 40% have a private garage, the remaining car owners have an allocated street parking space.
  • 100% of the residents make use of their private open space and of the street. Socialising is inclusive of picnics, dining, entertaining and relaxing. Exercise activities include rehabilitation and dog walking.
  • There was general agreement that the grassed area adjacent to Railway Street was underused.
  • Many of the residents were not aware of the high use of the bicycle path, especially during peak periods.
  • Many of the residents were aware of the sale and subsequent evacuation of the residents of the Casa Elda Vaccari building.

Image sources

  1. Personal details, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. Work details.
  3. Distance travelled to work.
  4. The household.
  5. Access to private open space.
  6. Use of the street.


Pigdon Street project brief

During community consultations conducted in the last week of August 2014, the residents of Pigdon Street were asked a number of questions aimed at understanding the demographics of the area, and more importantly who you are. This investigation was particularly important for Streets Without Cars, as the eventual urban intervention will be designed with the local community in mind.

Also important was the introduction of residents to the urban design agenda of Streets Without Cars:

Imagine if there were no cars, no need for car parking or wide moats of asphalt reserved for car traffic. What could we do with the space and how might we foster new ways of living together as a community?

This was the overall thinking framework presented during the community consultation. It was an interesting experience as a lot of you were surprised or even confused by my interview, as no one had really bothered to ask these type of questions before.

Some of the questions I asked residents during the consultation process were designed to prompt and enable you to start thinking about your street as not just that bit of infrastructure in front of your homes, but also a space that you could extend your front yards into.

I asked you to imagine alternative uses for your street if the traffic were significantly reduced and pedestrians / residents were given priority over this space. I prompted you with these issues for consideration:

  • Current key traffic and traffic flow issues you feel need to be addressed.
  • Your ideas for the street and median street, and any alternative uses you could image for them.
  • When you would use these new facilities and spaces i.e. during what times of the day, week and year.
  • Who gets to use the street i.e. would you like to see community oriented spaces, or spaces reserved for private use and local residents only?
  • Who you imagine will maintain the new spaces and facilities in your street, and who you feel should pay for it.

Here are some of the ideas and issues raised by your community.

20141003 pigdon brief #1
Your thoughts on current traffic conditions
  • The majority of you (82%) felt that the current large amount of traffic along Pigdon Street was either not an issue or you had not noticed it before. The remainder expressed your concern for the bottlenecks and noise created by the car traffic during peak hour periods.
  • While the amount of traffic did not seem to be an issue, you all thought that more can be done in terms of how the traffic flows through your street. A vast majority (80%) of you expressed your concern over the Garton Street roundabout, which you thought was an accident waiting to happen again, with many of you highlighting previous accidents and daily near misses between cyclists and cars. This was identified as being the result of cyclists not being given the right of way by cars entering the intersection too fast.
  • A number of you felt that more can be done in terms of bicycle lane separation and connectivity at intersections, as the currently extra wide bike paths along Pigdon Street still remain dangerous as they discontinue at the roundabouts of Garton and Arnold Streets, creating havoc between cars and cyclists.
  • Nearly three quarters (73%) of you felt that cars were cutting the roundabout and going too fast over the “mellow” speed bumps which are currently not an effective speed control strategy.

The traffic issues aside, a lot of you had an exciting range of ideas for a new look Pigdon Street. The following images show all the ideas highlighted by the community and the size of the circles indicate the popularity (number of times the idea was suggested) amongst the residents interviewed.

20141003 pigdon brief #2
Your ideas for a new look Pigdon Street
20141003 pigdon brief #3
When you would use the new spaces
20141003 pigdon brief #4
Who gets to use the street
20141003 pigdon brief #5
Your ideas around funding and maintenance of the proposed upgrades

Based on your ideas and input here are some of the conclusions I have made and the beginnings of your brief for Pigdon Street.

  • A vast majority of you would like to see more space provided where you can meet with friends to socialise and have picnics, gatherings and the ability to sit down. Most households have limited private open space where such activities can take place. Eating (80% ), socialising (75%) and extensions of your living spaces at home (90%) are amongst the most popular and widely suggested ideas for Pigdon Street.
  • The most widely suggested idea for Pigdon Street is the provision of temporary structures and spaces (90%) where a variety of short term “pop-up” activities such as local community markets, night markets, street food and coffee, community events and small “rent a plot” vegetable gardens can take place.
  • Approximately 50% of you would like to see a community garden within the area of Pigdon Street, with a suggestion by one resident for those spaces to have a “rent a plot” arrangement, which will contribute to any maintenance costs and offer the flexibility to residents who want to plant and farm seasonally. Other residents would like to see more landscaping and winter gardens, with the additional space required provided by a reduced amount of asphalt.
  • Spaces for recreation, outdoor activities and ball games were also popular (40%), with a number of you (50%) suggesting more community oriented meeting spaces, such as communal seating and tables for people to gather, a small “book-share” community library and spaces for community events.
  • All of you saw the need for an improvement in the way traffic enters and moves through the street, with an overwhelming 80% of residents wanting the cars to be slowed down, and the intersection of Pigdon and Garton Streets to be addressed for the safety of cyclists. You were also concerned that the current methods of slowing down cars are not effective and would like to see something be done about it.
  • Some of you (27%) felt that the number of non-resident permit car parking spots can be reduced as they are currently exploited by visitors to Princes Park who do not want to pay for parking tickets along Bowen Crescent.
  • The majority of the community (64%) accepted the idea of looking after and maintaining your new spaces if you felt you had somewhat of an ownership of them. The remaining residents expect the council to look after any improvements to the street, with a small number feeling that they would simply not have the time to do so.
  • A very small number of residents would like to see any new spaces or activities provided along Pigdon Street remain private, while the vast majority of residents supported the idea that these spaces be either for the broader community (36%) or for both the local and broader communities(65%).
  • The question of funding was one that received a variety of responses, with nearly half of the residents (45%) wanting the City of Yarra to provide the capital investment. These residents felt they already pay high council rates and land tax. Some residents suggested the improvements be absorbed through paying higher taxes, but the second most widely accepted funding approach (36%) was a contribution on behalf of the residents through either crowdfunding or fundraising along with council.

Image sources

  1. Your thoughts on current traffic conditions, this and subsequent images copyright the author.
  2. Your ideas for a new look Pigdon Street.
  3. When you would use the new spaces.
  4. Who gets to use it.
  5. Your ideas around funding and maintenance of the proposed upgrades.

Pigdon Street community

During community consultations conducted in the last week of August 2014, the residents of Pigdon Street were asked a number of questions aimed at understanding the demographics of the area, and more importantly who you are. This investigation is particularly important for the Streets Without Cars agenda, as my eventual urban intervention will be designed with the local community in mind.

The residents were asked a number of questions:

  • Age and gender.
  • Household members.
  • Ownership and how long you’ve been living there.
  • Occupation, location of workplace and distance from home.
  • Modes of transport used for commuting.
  • Bicycle and car ownership.
  • Private open space availability and use.
  • Current use of the street and nearby public parks.

Gender and age

20141003 pigdon community #1

Household and ownership

20141003 pigdon community #2

Work location and occupation

20141003 pigdon community #3

Commute and distance to workplace

20141003 pigdon community #4

The overall picture

20141003 pigdon community #5

Based on these findings, the following observations can be made about the community:

  • The community is a mix of predominantly young professionals, retired couples and students.
  • The majority of residents are young professionals in the 21 – 30 age bracket, who represent 56% of the community. Older individuals and retired couples are the second most represented group in the community with 24%.
  • The households are a mixture of young and older family units, young professionals living together in a shared house arrangement and young couples. There are only a small number of family households with children.
  • Over half the properties (64%) are rented and approximately 63% of the current residents have either recently moved or have lived on Pigdon Street for around 2 years.
  • A large proportion of the residents work and study within a 2km to 5km radius from home, with approximately 76% of the residents’ daily commute being to and from the CBD and inner northern suburbs of Melbourne.
  • The residents’ preferred method of commuting to and from work is via the short walk to Lygon Street and Royal Parade trams, with 62% of all residents making their daily commute via this route. The second most popular daily commute method is the bicycle, with 19% of locals choosing their bicycle over public transport and the car. Only 14% of all residents use their cars as the preferred method of commuting.
  • An interesting characteristic of the community is the limited use of their cars, despite their being an average 1.6 cars per household. According to residents, the car is used only 2 – 3 times a week for short trips to and from the shops, with only a small number of cross town trips being made during the month.

During the community consultation residents were also asked about the amount and type of private open space available in their homes as well as any existing uses of Pigdon Street, its large median strip and the adjacent Princes and Park Street parks.

Private open space and use

20141003 pigdon community #6

Use of Pigdon Street and local parks

20141003 pigdon community #7

Based on these findings, the following observations can be made about the use and availability of private open space:

  • Almost all the residents along Pigdon Street have access to a private open space, although more often then not it is relatively small and not well used. Approximately 27% of the residents interviewed had no access to any private open space at all.
  • Approximately 30% of households have access to a small backyard referred to by residents as their “concrete pad”, which in 30% of cases is used for storage.
  • A very small number of households have access to a front yard as well as a backyard, which are predominantly used for gardening and entertaining family and friends
  • Every resident has access to private car parking, accessed through the laneways at the back of their properties. However, only 36% of all households use this space for their cars, opting instead to park on adjacent streets as they prefer to have the additional backyard space.
  • The most popular uses for residents’  limited private open space is entertaining and socialising (54%), and reading and studying (20%).
  • 25% of the residents interviewed do not use Pigdon Street or the green median strip at all. The other three-quarters of residents predominantly use Pigdon Street for car parking (21%) and ball games in the median strip (21%), with a small number of residents choosing to use the median strip for picnics (12.5%) and reading / studying (12.5%)
  • The limited or non-existent private open space seems to be substituted by the Princes and Park Street parks, with 100% of all residents interviewed using the parks at least 5 times a week.
  • A vast majority of residents use the park for exercising, socialising with friends and a number of residents take their lunch to the park if they want to eat outside due to the lack of usable private open space in their own homes.

The residents of Pigdon Street seem to be an active bunch, with a vast majority indicating that the short walk to Princes Park is not an issue and having access to one of the city’s great parks compensates for the lack of green private open space.

Image sources

  1. Gender and age, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. Household and ownership.
  3. Work location and occupation.
  4. Commute and distance to workplace.
  5. Overall picture.
  6. Private open space and use.
  7. Use of Pigdon Street and local parks.

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.

North and Clark Streets project brief

Following on from my previous post summarising interviews I conducted along North and Clark Streets, this post looks at your ideas and thoughts for the future potential of the street. I asked you about:

  • Your ideas for new uses of the streets.
  • How the facilities could help you and your business.
  • Times of the day, week and year that you would use them.
  • Your preference for communal or private space.
  • If you are prepared to assist in funding potential upgrades.

Here is what I was told:

20141007 north and clark brief #1

20141007 north and clark brief #2

20141007 north and clark brief #3

20141007 north and clark brief #4

Based on this input:

  • Over 60% of you would like to enhance recreational uses for the street by making it greener, with trees and park-like amenities. This could relate to the lack of private outdoor space within properties in commercial areas.
  • 45% of you want a better car parking system. You tend to be more interested in a better organised parking system that suits commercial uses rather than simply increasing the number of spaces.
  • Around 80% of you who think parking is an issue would be prepared to pay for a better designed parking system.
  • Almost all companies that have regular deliveries need better space for truck manoeuvring on the street.
  • 25% of you identify networking with local businesses in the area as a potential improvement for the future street design.
  • 33% of you see some sort of commercial potential in a newly designed street.
  • Your suggestions for usage times are mainly (70%) during business hours, although you also nominate some interesting other times of potential use, such as monthly gatherings or even biannual festival-like events.
  • 59% of you would be prepared to contribute financially to a successful scheme. All of you who said yes to this would accept an increase in rates. About 20% said of you would contribute capital funding if the project has some commercial benefit.
  • 50% of you would be happy to help maintain the future street if you are happy with it. That said, most of those (67%) who are happy to help would only do so if local council takes responsibility for tasks greater than cleaning up rubbish occasionally.

Image sources

  1. Desired street use, this and subsequent images copyright the author.
  2. Times of potential use.
  3. Communal vs private.
  4. Maintenance and payment.

North and Clark Streets community

I have conducted recent interviews with businesses on North and Clark Streets, Richmond, in order to better understand the context of my Streets Without Cars project. The interviews were split into two parts: one was about you, and your current experience of the street; the second was about what you want your future street to be.

The first half of the interview addressed:

  • Types of businesses and age of workers.
  • How you get to work, and company hours.
  • Size of business, if you rent and how long you have been there.
  • Company owned cars / bicycles.

Here is what I discovered:

20141003 north and clark community #1

20141003 north and clark community #2

20141003 north and clark community #3

Based on these findings, I came up with the following conclusions:

  • There is a wide range and even spread of different commercial enterprises on the street.
  • Majority of workers use cars to, from and during work.
  • Although very few businesses own their property, the average occupancy is lengthy: 8.2 years.
  • Street use during weekends is split evenly between daylight and night time hours.
  • Although a majority of businesses are open during the day, there is notable activity at night.
  • About 60% of businesses have company owned cars.

It was also important to get data on how the street is used in its current state. Given the commercial nature of the street, the answer was almost exclusively for parking, dispatch and deliveries.

I also investigated:

  • Volume of dispatch / deliveries per week.
  • If you require on street car parking.

20141003 north and clark community #4

Based on this, I came up with the following conclusions:

  • Over 50% of businesses use the street as their parking area.
  • There are many dispatches / deliveries per week, including 24 that involve a truck.

Image sources

  1. Business type, ownership, travel, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. Operating hours.
  3. Other statistics.
  4. Street use.