Network of Complementary Community Spaces
We’re very fortunate to have over 150 playgrounds in the City of Parramatta as well as a great number of bush reserves, creeks and public spaces such as libraries and town centres – making up what could be a great network of spaces for the community to come together, get active, recharge, learn, enjoy a meal together and support local businesses.
But frustratingly these spaces are very often seen (and upgraded) in isolation without consideration for what other facilities are available nearby, across an area and throughout the whole of the City of Parramatta. So the collective worth of these community spaces is greatly reduced and there is an uneven distribution, which means some parts of our community miss out on having easy access to suitable community spaces.
This is particularly true with playgrounds. There is no proper play strategy that makes sure, within an area, there are playgrounds for kids of different ages and interests and that offer a range of features like shade, fencing and BBQs. The Community Infrastructure Strategy has taken an important step towards this, thanks in part to the contribution Kellie made during the community consultation, but there’s still a way to go.
It’s not possible nor necessary to have every playground shaded, fenced and with toilets and BBQs. But it is very important that within a reasonable distance from each person’s home, they can access a number of parks which collectively have these facilities and also cater to a range of ages. It means Council needs to be more strategic in upgrading and expanding it’s play spaces by making them a complementary network.
On top of this, quite often different types of community spaces have an unnecessary singular purpose or considered in isolation from other types of community spaces. For example, parks aren’t just for families with young kids. By adding table tennis, picnic tables and community gardens, you turn it into a community hub that can bring together different local residents. There is enormous benefit in considering all community spaces as hubs for residents to come together and making sure the different spaces are better connected.