A history of the Tool

The Growth Areas Social Planning Tool was initially created for Melbourne's outer growth area communities. These areas have experienced challenges that have resulted in poor social outcomes for their residents compared to their inner Melbourne counterparts.

2009: The Melbourne Community Foundation (now the Australian Communities Foundation) identified projects needing funding to address issues in Melbourne's growth areas, MacroMelbourne Initiative (PDF, 6.73MB). One of the proposals was to develop a dynamic tool to guide the building of strong communities in growth areas which was funded for a literature review.

2011: The City of Whittlesea released a literature review titled There's Something About Community (PDF, 1.23MB) / There's Something About Community (WORD, 6.87MB). This demonstrated that there is no established system or standards for community building in Australian growth areas. It recommended the development of a good practice guide and a social planning framework.

A project reference group was established to develop a guide in the form of a 'Tool'. The group comprised representatives from Melbourne’s seven growth area councils and a range of stakeholders active in growth area community building.

2012: Research was undertaken to identify best practice for community building in growth areas. The report, Creating Community – Social Connection, Community Wellbeing and Good Practice (PDF, 539KB) / Creating Community – Social Connection, Community Wellbeing and Good Practice (WORD, 1.31MB) highlighted the importance of planning for social cohesion in parallel with building the physical environment. It also recorded social planning principles drawn from local and international best practice and literature.

2013: A project steering group was established to engage senior decision makers in key organisations. Consultation and further research built on the findings from the first two stages, resulting in the Community building in growth areas: the case for a coordinated approach (PDF, 10.17MB) and this, the Growth Areas Social Planning Tool.