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Experiencing our waterways

28 Apr 2015

Experiencing our waterways Image

Docklands’ waterways are often considered its most significant asset and a group of students are currently investigating how local residents interact with this valuable feature.

RMIT environmental and social science students Connor Jolley, Emily Gayfer and Katie Johnston are working on behalf of Yarra Riverkeeper Andrew Kelly to find out more about Docklands’ relationship with the river.

“We’re predominantly interested in who the residents of Docklands are, particularly in the context of how they use the water or how they’d like to use it,” Ms Johnston said.

Through a survey, observational study and interviews, the students hope to establish what kind of groups live in Docklands and how these different groups interact with the water.

“From our perspective as environmental students, we’re interested in the urban space and how people do actually get a chance to interact with nature,” Mr Jolley said.

“That’s why we’re really drawn to it, because you have a situation where you’ve got this great natural space in the middle of Melbourne and it would be really interesting to know how that grabs people and what can be gleaned from that in terms of how we can improve the urban landscape.”

According to Yarra Riverkeeper Andrew Kelly, the results of the research project will help his organisation to continue its advocacy work in a way that incorporates Docklands’ residents.

Yarra Riverkeepers is an independent association that works to protect and advocate for the Yarra River.

“I want to know how we should advocate for the river in Docklands,” Mr Kelly said.

“I’m keen to know what their (Docklands residents) expectations of the river were when they moved in and whether their expectations have been met.”

Mr Kelly said he wanted to improve the way people connect with the river and listed a number of concerns about the river in Docklands.

These include barriers between people and the waterfront, the high proportion of private marinas in Docklands, a lack of indigenous vegetation and the risk of overshadowing of the river.

He hopes to ascertain whether Docklands residents share similar concerns, engage them in the Yarra Riverkeepers’ advocacy efforts and encourage them to become more involved with the river.

To participate in the research project visit http://goo.gl/nxyW9s or email (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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