The principle ‘Empowering Users’ looked at the varying stakeholder groups who occupy our study area, and how their needs could be met with appropriate interventions.

Study Area

Our work looked at mechanisms to support inclusivity in the industrial area of East Preston and the surrounding community. The study area is situated in the City of Darebin (outlined in red), to the north-east of Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD).

We focused on the industrial precinct, highlighted in grey, with consideration given to the residents of the surrounding community, highlighted in teal, and those that worked in the precinct that largely came from the outer north-east, coloured in burgundy.

Population Pyramids

The contrasts in population pyramids between those that work in the area and the resident population largely reflects the industrial nature of the site, with significantly more men employed than women.

Cluster Analysis

A cluster analysis of employment data identified that those residing in the area surrounding the study site were unlikely to be employed in the traditional industries found within it.

The proportion of people working in Wholesale Trade and Manufacturing is lower than the average for Melbourne, and both industries are declining.

On the other hand, there is significant strength in the Arts, Professional and Scientific fields. Education and Training is also seeing growth.

Income Disparity

As the residents of Preston and Thornbury predominantly work in knowledge-intensive industries like IT and Professional Services, they tend to earn a higher salary on average than those that work in the area.

Our actions seek to maintain the existing industries and occupations, while promoting a business mix reflective of the careers held by occupants living nearby, that’s mutually beneficial for all businesses.

Empowering Users Flow Chart

Focusing on the interest of the precinct, an industry group for the local traders would be established. This Traders’ Association could manage a financial trust to guide actions as they see fit.

Business Improvement Grants would encourage and support "right sizing", including subdividing into smaller individual spaces.

Precinct improvement projects could be funded through the value uplift captured from greater demand and improved trade.

Further increases in value would be reinvested back into the precinct by the Traders’ Association, for future projects and to maintain affordability.

Precinct Interventions

A program of promoting right-sizing through micro-zoning would encourage the sub-division of the larger facilities that are currently under-utilised.

Makerspaces and creative industries could utilise streetfront real estate, while existing businesses in larger facilities would be supported with reduced overheads.

The value generated from the redevelopment of currently underutilised sites could provide the funding to further re-invest back into the precinct.

A community-oriented Traders’ Association could identify projects and support the development of the precinct with financing. Projects could enhance active and public transport networks to suit residents and workers alike, including improvements to wayfinding and local streetscapes.

Cooperative financial mechanisms would foreground affordable workspaces for existing and emerging businesses and re-invest back into the precinct to retain and attract businesses and customers.
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