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HNSW Report on Community Learning & Research Workshop

HNSW held a Redfern & Waterloo Community Learning and Research Workshop on 7 October 2010 at the Redfern Oval Community Room. Below is the HNSW Report on this meeting which was supplied on 18 November 2010.

Redfern & Waterloo Community Learning and Research Workshop

 Redfern Oval Community Room Chalmers St Redfern 7 October 2010

Welcome, introductions and context

  • Bernie Coates, Director, Community Building, welcomed everyone to the Community Learning and Research Workshop.
  • Bernie provided an update on Built Environment Plan 2 (BEP2) and the Housing Affordability Fund 2 (HAF2) master planning process.
  • Participants raised concerns about receiving appropriate and timely feedback on previous research and activity. Bernie explained that he is not in a position to comment on what has happened in the past, as he was not involved. However, he offered four principles for consultation from this point on:
  1. We will consult
  2. We will report back
  3. We will advise of actions taken
  4. We will advise of the reasons if no action is taken
  • Bernie introduced David Lilley, Project Manager, Community Renewal, and explained that he will be coordinating research for Housing NSW

What’s happened to date?

  • David said that he is excited and optimistic about the opportunity to work with the community on research and evaluation, as many human service projects do not consider these issues until well into implementation.
  • David then provided an overview of the agenda, and agreed to provide feedback from the workshop in approximately four weeks.
  • David introduced Judy Stubbs, of Judy Stubbs and Associates, who agreed to facilitate the workshop on a voluntary basis.

Small group discussion

Judy praised community members for their commitment and participation. She explained that she grew up in the area from age 12, and has many positive memories. Judy also discussed the challenge of balancing personal perspectives and concerns against those of the greater community, as well as providing an overview of her work in Minto, Bonnyrigg and Macquarie Fields. Judy then facilitated small group discussions to address the following four questions:

1.     What research and information from elsewhere would you like access to?

2.     How can the planners better understand your community?

3.     How can we learn as we go in Redfern and Waterloo?

4.     Other issues

Following this Judy summarised the work of the small groups as they reported back to the larger group. Findings appear below.

Question 1 – What research and information from elsewhere would you like access to?

  • Simple summary of area characteristics and local research (including the identification of gaps in current research)
  • Specific list of  available research and reports
  • Timely, uncensored feedback and reports


  • Bonnyrigg and Minto research reports
  • Global research on high-rise and anti-social behaviour
  • Independent research about other community renewal projects of the same type
  • Demographics of Redfern and Waterloo
  • Information on the REDWatch request list
  • Roll-up Redfern research
  • Safety by design research
  • Service delivery research
  • Research on Kensington (inner-city Melbourne)
  • Standards re sustainable living
  • Research on social mix in theory and practice
  • Succinct review of other projects/research (outcomes, what happened, how they are relevant)
  • Review of research relevant to Redfern and Waterloo
    • social mix
    • renewal
    • high density development
    • enterprise

Question 2 – How can the planners better understand your community?

  • By immersing themselves in the local community
  • By learning from previous work
  • Through openness and respect ® “warts and all”
  • Bottom-up research process ® local ownership
  • Through recognising the intersections between social and physical planning
  • Learning from mistakes ® research and evaluation


Scope issues and identify gaps to set the research agenda (with local people/ groups)
Identify key areas of research


Design research

  • Revisit community strength research
  • Send the planners to the pub
  • Planners move in to the area
  • Listen to people living in the area
  • Precinct by precinct – using a range of methods
  • Recognise the uniqueness of the community
  • Engage all
  • Visit the whole community
  • Have an open mind
  • Engagement of locals in the research scoping process
  • Listen to seniors/ original tenants
  • Holistic approach
  • Allow them access to previous research and documentation
  • Value and appreciate tenant’s input

 Question 3 – How can we learn as we go in Redfern and Waterloo?


  • Community engagement strategy
  • Scoping the issues for research by:
    • Working with residents and key stakeholders (networks, events, methods for engaging the hard-to-reach
    • Identifying gaps in existing research
  • Ongoing feedback
  • Clear, simple communication


  • Receiving full and prompt feedback from researchers and facilitators
  • Openness – not set agendas
  • Accept and acknowledge mistakes
  • Up to date information
  • Information sharing
  • Waterloo Report Card – community plan for each suburb
  • Open and honest dialogue ® mutual respect ® process
  • Information sharing
  • Honest reporting
  • Timely and responsive running summary
  • Keep up to date/current
  • Access to previous research

Question 4 – What else?

  • Need workshops on how to read master plans
  • Connect with isolated residents
  • Allocations
  • Low rise versus high rise (Waterloo Green Neighbourhood Project only in Waterloo high rise)
  • Problems being moved on, not solved
  • Retention of green space
  • Identify what is immutable e.g. social mix
  • After hours transport
  • Resourcing and respect of individual advocacy workers
  • Access and universal housing – for future tenants
  • Residents input into design process
  • Community housing communication
  • Need more specialists and doctors in the area
  • Transport infrastructure
  • Need to understand the implications of transfers to community housing
  • Need to know what services are needed for high needs tenants

Forming a Community Learning and Research Committee

Bernie facilitated a session on how to form a community learning and research committee, including small group discussion and reporting back to the larger group. Findings were later grouped to make the report more readable.


  • Get the right people in the room
  • Get communication right
  • Act as a clearing house
  • Have a working element and a communication element
  • Have an expert convenor/facilitator
  • Multiple requests for Judy Stubbs to facilitate
  • Note the work of the Waterloo NAB regarding research
  • Research strategy needs to link to broader engagement strategy
  • Ensure that committee supports resident defined agenda
  • Form partnerships with other research groups
  • Possibility of paying tenants for participation (note impacts for other committees)
  • Don’t swamp the area
  • Don’t raise expectations
  • Needs to feed into ISOG
  • Trust and confidence building required
  • Bottom-up approach
  • Information to be made available in other languages
  • Information to be provided in large black print on notice boards

Size and composition

  • A small committee with defined membership would be efficient
  • A larger committee offers coherence and responsibility to do something about the issues raised
  • Could have small core group of committed members + open group of whoever wants to come
  • Could have monthly meetings of a core group and quarterly meetings with a larger (open) group


  • Research strategy needs to link to broader project
  • Needs to be a doing group and influence outcomes


It was agreed that:

  • A Research Committee be formed, with membership as outlined above, but open to anyone else to attend.
  • This report would be an input into that meeting.
  • The group would be allowed to evolve.

Evaluation Framework for Waterloo Green Neighbourhood Project (WGNP)

Sarah Elliot, Project Manager, WGNP, provided an overview of the WGNP and the draft evaluation framework. She then facilitated small group discussion and reports back to the larger group. Participant feedback included:

 Ask residents what difference it has made to them
  • Ask residents from other parts of Waterloo and Redfern what difference it has made to them
  • Talk to NGOs and government agencies that service the area
  • Measure the impacts on the cost of services in the area
  • Measure whether crime and anti-social behaviour has decreased
  • Talk to private business in Waterloo re impacts
  • Seek information from ISOG re impacts
  • Measure whether taxis and food deliveries increase
  • Measure expenditure on vandalism
  • Monitor displacement through crime stats and baseline survey
  • Monitor use of community rooms
  • Monitor security lighting
  • Monitor contact centre and contractor performance
  • Seek reports from security staff.