Community building strategies



Creating a Connected Cardinia – Cardinia Neighbourhood Development Framework 2011-2015

Creating a Connected Cardinia is a collection of four papers that comprehensively outline Cardinia Shire Council’s approach to neighbourhood development in its growth areas. They consist of:

  1. Background Paper (PDF, 372KB) – provides an overview of neighbourhood development theory and practice, an overview of the key factors influencing Cardinia Shire’s communities currently and into the future, outlines relevant council and state government policy and provides an overview of key stakeholders involved in neighbourhood development.
  2. Strategic Directions Paper (PDF, 290KB) – sets out the approach to neighbourhood development at Cardinia Shire Council, the key outcomes sought and a program logic model for moving towards these outcomes.
  3. Action Plan (PDF, 149KB) – sets out a program of activities and initiatives related to neighbourhood development in Cardinia Shire that council has committed to delivering between 2011 and 2015.
  4. Implementation and Evaluation Plan (PDF, 278KB) – compiles the actions from the other three documents and sets out an implementation and evaluation plan. It also includes activities by other areas of council that are relevant to neighbourhood development.

The Neighbourhood Development Framework has been developed under the four key dimensions of resilience, connection, respect and support. The actions identified include:

  • New resident information kits and evenings
  • Getting to know neighbours at local area events
  • Community resilience programs
  • Family leadership/mentoring programs
  • Community leadership program
  • Poppy seed grants programs
  • Support for residents-led initiatives
  • Programs/spaces to connect diverse groups

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City of Casey New Estates Community Development Program

The New Estates Community Development Program (NECDP) was developed in response to the rapid residential housing estate and population growth in the City of Casey.

The program aimed to build a strings sense of community, encourage active citizenship and the development of strong local networks, and welcome new residents and introduce them to local services and programs.

The NECDP targeted both larger scale and smaller scale audiences, informal and formal settings and both new and existing estates.

The core themes of the NECDP were:

  1. Building active citizenship and empowerment
  2. Development and sustainability of local social capital
  3. Building a strong sense of community

In line with these three core themes, the NECDP employed the following community engagement strategies:

  • New estates information evenings
  • Community directions newsletters
  • Community activities including Casey People in Parks events
  • Building Better Communities forums
  • Point of contact, information and referral
  • New group development and support
  • Collection of local community stories

A range of programs and activities have been organised and run through the NECDP to support community building including:

Casey Neighbourhood BBQ’s which involve residents working with council to plan and host a community BBQ in their street to promote connectedness and interaction between local residents.

People in Place activities staged at local community facilities. These events aimed provide an informal afternoon of entertainment, information provision and the opportunity to meet other residents in the community, as well as promoting awareness of community venues to residents.

People in Parks activities held throughout summer in local parks for new and established communities across the City. The activities are intended to welcome current and future residents and provide entertainment for the whole family.

Meet the Streets informal afternoon sessions held for residents in a parkland area of smaller estates. These events included food and entertainment for local residents who are encouraged to bring fold out chairs and enjoy the casual atmosphere.

Neighbour Day which encouraged people to create relationships with the people who live next door and across the street as a way of strengthening their communities to create safer, healthier and more vibrant places to live. Neighbour Day also included the publication of a ‘Get to Know Your Neighbour’ kit to help residents to run their own activities on the day. The kit included:

  • Hello Postcards
  • Get to Know Your Neighbour brochure
  • Information about Neighbour Day and ideas for activities
  • Street Party permit information
  • Name stickers
  • Blank poster to advertise an activity
  • The opportunity to mail a positive Neighbour story to Council

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Scouts Victoria's Growth Area Strategy Framework

The purpose of the Scouts Growth Areas Strategy Framework (SGASF) is to provide a blueprint for Scouts Victoria to:

  • Implement a region-based approach to establishing new scout groups in new communities
  • Raise scouts’ profile as relevant and influential providers of youth and community development through partnerships with local community, municipalities and state government agencies.

The SGASF assists in addressing two of Scouts Victoria’s priority strategies and goals:

  • Youth membership growth
  • Societal recognition as relevant and contemporary

The SGASF also integrates with respective Scout regions’ revitalisation programs for existing scout infrastructure, programs and services.

The strategy focuses on the growth areas encompassing the municipalities of Whittlesea, Hume, Mitchell, Melton, Wyndham, Cardinia and Casey.


The SGASF embodies the belief that scouts can make a major contribution to youth and community development in newly established and yet to be developed communities as scouts are one of the few volunteer organisations that can provide structured tailored programs outside of school hours, for all young people aged six to 25 years, 40 weeks a year.

Situational analysis informed by Plenty Valley region pilot

An evidence base was developed to inform the SGASF through the implementation of a Plenty

Valley Region Growth Areas Strategy pilot launched in April 2011. The pilot focused on the Mernda and Doreen communities in the City of Whittlesea and was managed through a Plenty Valley Region Taskforce comprising representatives from the scouts region, branch and key local organisations and government agencies.

The Pilot was undertaken in four phases including:

  • Feasibility: scoping, resourcing and planning,
  • Partnerships: building local support,
  • Establishment: new scout groups and new scout leader pool, and
  • Transition: move from region support to becoming a functioning scout group within the existing district structure.

Key recommendations from the pilot included:

  • Develop a LGA-specific strategy to develop scouting in new communities and the revitalisation of existing scout groups in traditional areas
  • Secure full-time resources to provide capacity in building localised partnerships and raising community awareness as to the community benefits of scouting groups in new communities
  • Establish a dedicated region team of experienced scouting personal to support the engagement of local volunteers as new scout leaders and or members of parent committees in new scout groups
  • Implement ongoing research and evaluation to determine the impact of scouting in growth areas, in particular value-adding to community development.

Social Infrastructure Planning Framework for Waitakere City, Waitakere City Council, NZ 2007

Waitakere City Council’s Social Infrastructure Planning Framework sets out a range of principles, processes and tools to help council (and other infrastructure providers) plan for the social infrastructure needs of growth areas.

The framework is focused on community-based processes (such as networking and events) as well as community facilities (such as halls and meeting places).

  • Sense of place, identity, safety and cultural expression
  • Community connectedness and interaction
  • Networks of people (such as friends and neighbours) and organisations that support each other at the local level and are involved in local affairs
  • Events, celebrations and programs designed to promote local interaction
  • Community building, brokering and development programs and program leaders.

The framework’s facilities include:

  • Education facilities and services – schools, early childhood centres
  • Police facilities and services – community policing stations, victim support
  • Health services and facilities – GPs, Plunket clinics, specialists
  • Justice services and facilities – courts, community probation centres, restorative justice services
  • Social services and facilities – e.g. Department of Work income offices, Housing NZ
  • Emergency services – fire, ambulance
  • ‘Formal’ community meeting spaces and places – centres, halls, marae, churches
  • ‘Informal’ public meeting spaces – parks, open spaces, cafes
  • Active leisure facilities – swimming pools, recreation centres, sports fields
  • Parks and playgrounds
  • Learning and informative centres – libraries

The framework is then developed under five cluster headings of:

  • Physical wellbeing
  • Human development – education
  • Cross-community support
  • Community interaction
  • Physical environment

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Building Strong Communities: Redlands Social Infrastructure Strategy, Redland City Council, 2009

Redland City Council’s Social Infrastructure Strategy identifies the following vision for Redlands: Building strong communities where a strong community is a connected community with access to a full range of options required for a rich community life and an active attachment to place.

Its definition of social infrastructure is:

“Social infrastructure refers to the community facilities, services and networks which help individuals, families, groups and communities meet their social needs, maximise their potential for development, and enhance community well-being”.

Services and networks are also included, recognising their crucial role in developing and supporting strong, well resourced, connected communities.

An audit conducted by Redland Council found the following relating to networks and community development support:

  • The pivotal role of networks, service inter-agencies and other collaborations in maintaining and attracting services, programs and funding for the city.
  • A need for administration and operational planning support for non-government organisations (NGOs).
  • The need for access to credible information on local needs and future growth for local service providers’ planning activities as well for community building and people’s participation in civic and community life.
  • Absence of community development capacity and targeted funding to undertake community building activities in new/changing communities and early intervention work with vulnerable families and individuals.

Some of the major changes in approaches to social infrastructure that have influenced this strategy include:

  • More emphasis on investing early in greenfield communities
  • More emphasis on prevention and early intervention
  • Emphasis on supporting service systems
  • Creation of hubs
  • A shift to place management and joined up government
  • Increased use of schools as community centres
  • Emergence of research about age friendly and child friendly cities
  • Move to sustainability and thinking locally
  • Use of partnerships and alliances to deliver infrastructure.

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Singeldingen, Rotterdam, Holland

A park situated between two distinct communities was identified and programmed with a wide range of activities in order to establish connections between the communities and generate a more cohesive and comprehensive neighbourhood.

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The Bromley by Bow Centre, Tower Hamlets, UK

The Bromley by Bow Centre is an exciting example of reclaimed space and innovative growth of community support services. The Centre supports families, young people and adults of all ages in one of the most deprived wards in the UK. It provides skills trainings, health and well-being support, employment.

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Screen Stories and Community Connections

A study in Cardinia has shown that social media has a role to play in connecting new residents.

The study took place in the outer-urban growth corridor of Cardinia, one of the State’s fastest growing areas and home to a community facing particular changes resulting from rapid development (Robson and Wiseman 2009). In particular, the area has seen significant private development of new commercial, residential and social spaces.

This study investigated how children and their families use information communication technologies (ICTs) in their everyday lives. It then looks at how relationships with and through technology can impact and influence an individual’s experience of social inclusion and exclusion.

The study found that technology is increasingly becoming a necessary means of communication, social connection and inclusion, information access and economic participation. Limited access to technology can contribute to social exclusion particularly for vulnerable communities such as lower socioeconomic or geographically isolated groups.

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