The need for a coordinated social planning process
Without adequate social planning, growing communities can develop in an ad hoc or staggered way, leading to negative social outcomes and disadvantage.
Some examples of planning gaps include:
- A lack of coordinated social planning and community building efforts
- A backlog of necessary services and infrastructure (education, community, recreation, public transport, roads) that is outpaced by demand
- Infrastructure funding timeframes that don’t match the land-use planning process
This affects the wellbeing of individuals and families and the liveability of places. For example, it can cause:
- A significant lack of social cohesion
- Disengaged young people who travel significant distances for education
- Higher rates of family dysfunction and violence
- Financial stress for families
- Difficulties in managing work and caring responsibilities
- Higher rates of physical and mental health problems
- Low civic participation rates
- Dormitory suburbs, lacking diversity.
- Untenable long commutes for work for residents
- Isolation from social support networks (family and friends).
This Tool clarifies the process for practitioners to support residents of new communities from the outset. Social planning can help build a community's social capital and resilience avoiding these negative outcomes. It’s also a unique opportunity to put in place a collaborative social practice from the beginning, using shared knowledge and resources.
The right Tool for the job
This Tool is intended to be a useful resource for anyone who wants to navigate the process of planning for community building. The Tool has roots in Melbourne, Australia, but we have endeavoured to ensure it can help a much broader user base.
Community building in growth areas - a case for a coordinated approach (PDF 10.17MB) explains the need for this Tool in more detail.
This project was led by the City of Whittlesea on behalf of the seven growth councils in metropolitan Melbourne, as well as a number of key stakeholders who share interest in planning for new communities.