With more criticism of Council this week over spending $$$ on one of the larger cultural groups within Monash, (see http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/east/monash-council-defends-decision-to-spend-37000-on-free-lunch-for-greek-easter/story-fngnvlxu-1227308571917) the value of an open space where many cultural groups can interact informally becomes apparent.
At least two community groups are calling for Central Car Park in Glen Waverley to be an open space for the purpose of interaction between cultural groups.
Many in the community are expressing outrage at the high rise development planned for the central area. High rise development planning is excessive, does not meet the needs of people living in the area and has ignored community views. Social isolation and health issues are a likely consequence of intensive high rise living. The community are asking for a place to unite, to come together with others from their own and different cultural groups. A place where no one group has control and smaller groups have equal access.
The call for open space (“neutral ground’) to support interaction between the different cultural groups is supported by research:
Research by Dunnett, Swanwick and Woolley (2002) found that local residents often identify green spaces as the centre of their community (see Improving Urban Parks, Play Areas and Green Spaces). By using outdoor spaces to formally and informally bring together people from a variety of cultures, ages, ethnicities and classes, urban green spaces increase social integration and interaction among local residents. Such spaces encourage a diverse range of uses – some of which stem from culture – and serve as “neutral ground,” according to Swanwick, Dunnett and Woolley (see “Nature, Role and Value of Green Space in Towns and Cities: An Overview,” in Built Environment, 2002, 29(2)). Open, accessible green spaces are essential for local people to maintain cultural identity and build social ties.
There are various views on how such open space could be designed, but much agreement that it should be a place for the people. There are multiple options on how this could be achieved and ideas include:
- putting car parking underneath the current car park (as is being done in Stonnington: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/inner-east/underground-carpark-big-ticket-item-on-stonnington-councils-draft-budget/story-fngnvlpt-1226891179713)
- joining up the bike path to the west of Glen Waverley station to the bike path on the east side of Springvale Road and providing bike parking. Eligibility for funding for such projects may be considered e.g. https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/general/better-conditions/2627/
What views do you have? How will high rise development affect the community in Monash?