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Editions
August 09 Edition Cover

Mums make the streets their own

02 Jun 2020

Last month just off Collins St, local mums were taking pleasure in creating their own form of village life after the initial culture shock of the pandemic.

“There are little green shoots,” town planner Kate Matthews said. “There’s a little network of relationships around the place.”

The mother of one was enjoying a cola drink outside the supermarket on Merchant St.

She had just picked up her daughter Emmy from daycare and done the shopping, after a day at the desk in her 14th floor apartment.

They’ve had one organised social catch-up since restrictions were relaxed two weeks ago.

The rest of their social contact has revolved around three coffee spots that have remained open and chats with retailers.

“I’m so happy to talk to someone,” Kate said. “I like how life’s simple. There’s not much to it.”

At first the streets seemed empty after the corporates left two months ago.

“If you strip back the façade, the fantastical and the buzzy go-go purely based on the built form, people are making connections regardless,” Kate said.

Residents have slowly taken over the place. “Docklands is actually like a little village. I see the same dogs out for a walk.”

Boredom has been the driving force behind the recent spate of community spirit, she said. At first the Instagram hype was that they all engage in creative projects inside.

“Everyone was baking sourdough bread. Now we’re in a massive flat. The initial plans were not sustainable. People have been burnt out. Boredom is inevitable.”

She compared the pandemic to a culture shock, like visiting a new country.

As a town planner, Kate gets a fair bit of banter from her online colleagues and has written an article for the Victorian Town Planners on what she calls a “stealth” baby boom in Docklands.

She said the demographic was changing from the initial boom of renters and investors to young families.

“We’re now getting the birth of second children.”

She said this had put stress on childcare. “We’ve kept Emmy in childcare. Some people took their kids out and couldn’t put them back in.” She has claimed nearby public space as her own and calls the Village Green her backyard. When she returns, she sees the chalk drawings of the day before.

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