My work in the Inclusive City studio - together with Amber Hille, Nellie Reinhard, Annie Fraser and Aaron Tepe - centered on delivering an inclusive strategy for a 'threatened' industrial area in East Preston. Our strategy identified issues relating to residential and industrial gentrification; amenity for workers and visitors; loss of heritage and cultural characteristics; and the interface with Darebin Creek, among others. Centered on four pillars, our plan outlines policy and planning opportunities to address these issues. My interests are encapsulated in this final studio output - how effective is the current planning context at delivering people-focused outcomes that have a social, environmental benefit?

East Preston Industrial Precinct

Our Inclusive Industrial Future Plan took a holistic approach to addressing economic, environmental, social and cultural issues, with the intention of finding solutions that intersect and support each other. Undertaken during the second half of 2021, the COVID-19 situation impacted engagement capacity, however we were fortunate enough to make a number of site visits.

Map of Project Site

The East Preston Industrial Precinct is on the eastern edge of the Darebin council area, nestled between the Darebin Creek and the arterial road of Albert Street. It's a sizable precinct, of comparable size to Melbourne's CBD, 8km to the south. The Northland Shopping Centre (and Activity Centre) abuts to the north, with scattered industry and residential to the south.

Guiding Pillars of the Plan

Using four pillars to guide our work - economic, cultural, social and environmental - we asked the question of how those would be realised in the industrial precinct, to envision an outcome to our plan.

Identified Issue: Low-Amenity Built Form

One issue we identified to address was how the existing conditions of the employment area lacked amenity for workers as well as visitors to and through the area.

Policy SOC3 - Active Frontages

To address the low-amenity, and to support a mixed-employment area, we proposed an Industrial Design Guidelines be drafted to control new development in the precinct.

Policy ECO4 - Business Incubator

We proposed a partnership be sought between state and local government and local education providers (La Trobe University, Northern College of the Arts and Technology) to establish a business incubator centered on the Food and Beverage manufacturing and creative and cultural industries. Such a site could assist in generating employment in occupations with lesser employment barriers relating to education and skill, in a collaborative and shared workspace at a lower cost, while also upskilling and training the local community.
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