Docklanders embrace online neighbourhood page

Docklanders embrace online neighbourhood page
David Schout

An online Docklands “Neighbourhood Portal” introduced in late 2022 has been embraced by locals, the City of Melbourne has revealed.

One of 10 online hubs that cover each suburb across the municipality, Docklands — alongside the CBD and Carlton — are the most visited portals, with “high levels of engagement for events and activities posted by community members”.

The portals, introduced as part of the council’s Neighbourhood Model in 2022 that sought to better understand and work with different communities, are dedicated spaces to keep up to date with postcode 3008 and have a say on its future.

This includes details of upcoming events, construction activity and general local news and information.

At the February 20 Future Melbourne Committee meeting, councillors backed a motion for a “pulse check” on the Neighbourhood Model, which sought to “measure changes in community perceptions” since the last consultation in 2022.

The council’s health, wellbeing and belonging portfolio chair Cr Olivia Ball said the pulse check represented the “next stage in the evolution of our Neighbourhood Model”.

“We already, of course have the neighbourhood portals, which are online places where we have two-way interaction between the community and the council,” Cr Ball said.

“And we have this knowledge bank where we are building up that information and drawing conclusions from it, partly with AI.”

“This innovation of what we're calling a pulse check is to retest the validity of the models that we're using so far and to fill the gaps where we know that certain groups in the community are underrepresented, such as young people defined as under the age of 30, local businesses and the full gamut of multicultural communities, to make sure we are hearing their voices in proportion to their presence in the community.”

The council noted that new community groups were emerging across the city, which had brought “more diverse voices to the fore”.

One of these was the Docklands Stakeholder Group, which commenced in July 2023 and is made up of representatives from different parts of the community, including Docklands Primary School, resident groups, and small businesses.

As part of the Neighbourhood Model, the council has employed a “partner” for Docklands (and all nine other neighbourhoods), who acts as the main point-of-contact on specific issues within the area.

It is hoped that, long-term, the initiative will allow the community to better connect with the council by helping share its ideas for the future.

The City of Melbourne has previously acknowledged that there were vast differences in different suburbs within the municipality (for example, between Docklands and East Melbourne) and said the “place-based” neighbourhood approach would ensure it could understand and respond to unique communities.

Findings from the pulse check will come back to councillors by June 30.

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