My passions in planning stem from the belief that planners are advocates and facilitators for the voice of communities. This Inclusive City Studio focuses on creating an inclusive strategy for industrial lands, which we have interpreted to include economic vitality, social inclusion, cultural connection and environmental resilience. Looking at the East Preston Industrial Precinct, I worked with Annie Fraser, Amber Hille, Ed Howe and Nellie Sheedy-Reinhard on the Inclusive Industrial Future plan.

Inclusive Industrial Future Plan

The Studio has focused on industrial lands and how to implement innovative strategies to increase inclusivity within them, including diverse social groups, businesses and practices. The preservation of important industrial land and use is a topical issue, with many industrial estates transforming due to the introduction of big box retailers and residential apartments.

This report establishes a strong place based strategy, that is guided by a comprehensive understanding of the local and surrounding context. The aim is to create a policy and implementation plan that can be applied to other industrial precincts, especially the different National Employment and Innovation Clusters (NEICs).

Pillars of Inclusivity

The plan is framed around four guiding principles (inspired by Brundtland’s pillars of sustainability), which are Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental. Under each of these pillars we were able to develop policies and an implementation strategy that would result in planning scheme changes, changes to council strategies, programs partnering with businesses and different levels of government, or site-specific interventions.

T.W. Blake Park Master Plan

T.W. Blake Park provides an important area of large public open space and serves as a cricket ground for the Preston Footballers Cricket Club and The Himalayan Club, as well as being an off-leash dog park. The reserve could become a more prominent gathering space and source of pride for locals with investment in built and environmental amenity for local and visiting users to enjoy and connect. There is scope to expand clubrooms and areas to socialise given the huge size of the park. This also allows for a playground, while keeping two or more cricket pitches.

T.W. Blake Park concept perspective

Implementation actions will look at:
•Accessibility improvements
•Increasing tree planting
•Expanding the clubrooms and establishing a community centre
•Bicycle lane safety
•Building an adventure playground

Further placemaking programs could include pop-up markets, art exhibitions and open days at locations such as T.W. Blake Park and the business incubator. Local maker markets can showcase the produce and products coming out of the East Preston Industrial Precinct and engage the local community.

Identifying industry clusters

We identified Food & Drink and Arts related businesses as two industries that have existing clusters within the site and are emerging and growing.

We believe that these types of businesses should be nurtured and attracted to East Preston, enhancing their economic viability whilst contributing to active and engaging streetscape frontages and social activity.

The industrial site is well placed to support the creative and art scene in Melbourne’s northeast. It is key that affordable spaces are available, with rising land values a large threat to their success. Flexible spaces and shared warehouses offer the opportunity for creators to remain in a location suitable to their craft.

Business Inventory

An ANZSIC 1 code study provides preliminary information on the types of businesses within the site. Notably, there is a strong concentration of retail trade in the north, which lessens as you move south, further away from Northland. Construction services exist almost exclusively in the south, though it should be noted that the business data is limited to desktop analysis and there are businesses that remain unidentified. Also observed are a high number of manufacturing businesses, ranging from large warehouses and factories to smaller scale workshops and niche producers. This data collection involved on site visit, google map stocktake and address searches.
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