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Pedestrians seek diverse spaces

04 Feb 2016

By Eva Garnes

Docklands has increased the amount of public space available in inner-Melbourne, but its lack of diversity fails to cater to pedestrians, a recent report has found.

The latest Places for People report by the City of Melbourne claims that if these public spaces are not diversified, Docklands will struggle to attract and retain walkers as they will be attracted to areas where the selection is better.

The authors of the report have divided Docklands into four “mini-cities”, where a pedestrian should be able to reach all the amenities required for living or working within a five-minute walk (or approximately 400 metres).

Another problem, especially highlighted in newly-developed areas of Melbourne such as Docklands and Southbank, is the lack of active street levels. Surveys found that pedestrians felt safer when the street level contained shops or residential suites.

In some areas of Melbourne there will often be street-level parking lots or several floors of parking garages before residential units begin.

According to the report, this lack of active street fronts can make pedestrians feel unsafe and accordingly they will shy away from the area and become disengaged with their local community.

As reported in the December/January edition of Docklands News, the redevelopment of Harbour Esplanade will see the building of new structures, providing a new and active street level. This new development could help create a more engaging space for residents and workers alike.

This could lead to the development of the environment the report asks for, where a strong and engaged community acts as the backbone of a resilient city.

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