The Footscray Learning Precinct (FLP)
The Footscray Learning Precinct (FLP) is a large scale education model which will be implemented for the first time in Australia in Melbourne’s inner west. The project proposes to transform Footscray from an ‘industrial city’ to a ‘knowledge city’ through a system of integrated learning, with multiple campuses and state-of-the-art facilities for all ages located throughout the suburb. Led by the Victorian School Building Authority, the FLP will link with institutions such as Victoria University, the City of Maribyrnong, local business and adult learning programmes. This is intended to facilitate ‘cradle to grave’ learning and the development of the project spans across multiple stakeholders, community groups, state and local governments.
This is the largest investment into a precinct by a government. In July 2017 it was announced that the architectural practice Hayball will execute the masterplan, design the facilities and implement Stage 1 of the works. The research for the PhD will take place in close collaboration with Hayball, through an arrangement brokered via Professor Naomi Stead. This relationship will be facilitated within Hayball by director Sarah Buckeridge, and will allow the PhD candidate to observe the design process, development, and outcomes of the FLP as it emerges in real time. Access to the material first-hand will ensure the originality and significance of the PhD research: providing a high level of access to otherwise-inaccessible information, processes, and people to directly inform the research as it progresses.
Footscray is currently experiencing significant demographic shifts, and a baby boom. This PhD research will investigate how a suburb undergoing rapid change is altered by a precinct-wide masterplan and series of architectural proposals. Central to the PhD will be an examination of the social and urban influence of the FLP and the built-environment effects, social expectations and perceptions, and possibilities for the role of education architecture in urban renewal.