Place-based innovation for the Lindfield Village Hub

"Something to do and somewhere to be." Community vision.

Ku-ring-gai is planning new community facilities on 1.3 hectares of Council owned land to the south of Pacific Highway and 150m from the Lindfield Station. Residents and Council Staff have been closely involved in the briefing of the new urban village and the integrated development will provide retail, parking, a library, child care and community facilities.

ProjectLindfield Village Hub Planning 2018-2019
ClientKu-ring-gai Council
TeamJanet Bevan, Geoff Douglas, Juliet Byrnes, Ben Hann, Inna Hawkins, Susanne Taylor (Ku-ring-gai) Duncan Corrigal, Jim Koopman (AJC) David McKinley (Abraxa)
Soft Build ServicesCommunity vision workshop, Community facilities performance brief, Future user experience planning, Service design planning.

Over the past decade, Ku-ring-gai Council has been strategically identifying and purchasing land around train stations and the highway corridor to create local centres that can support population growth while still protecting the natural environment and rich heritage. This is enabling a once in a generation program to renew and reinvigorate local centres and improve public facilities and amenity.

Allen Jack and Cottier Architects, Oculus and The Soft Build have developed the performance brief for the first development process that will deliver a new kind of community hub for Lindfield. The public domain is an evolving hybrid as the separate functional programs of libraries, community centres, parks and plazas are converging.

Working and learning activities are collaborative and noisy as well as focused and quiet – people need a mix of settings with extended access away from home, school and work. Life-long learning is also more social and interactive – which calls for more intensive venue and event hosting capabilities in public libraries.

And while digital resources can be accessed anywhere, libraries still play a critical role helping less tech-savvy community members navigate new technologies and digital media – and still provide beautiful spaces that encourage people to linger.

Community buildings need to offer great experiences in places that are full of different people for different reasons. For Lindfield this means a more urban approach that draws on placemaking insights. One key success measure has drawn on The Project for Public Spaces “Power of 10+” approach which calls for at least 10 places within a destination, and each place offering at least 10 things to do.

The new hub will be activated throughout the week and across the year, providing a changing destination for all ages and anchoring more sustainable living on Sydney’s North Shore.

The Soft Build helped Ku-ring-gai Council engage more deeply with local stakeholders. Participants identified through online surveys and information sessions were invited to take part in a vision workshop to understand concerns and aspirations, and to shape the initial design concept into a performance brief for the redevelopment.

“This is an ambitious development. It’s challenging the way Council plans and operates a large public precinct. Sue suggested we develop an outline Service Design to underpin the development of the building brief and whole of life costings before we went to the market. I was impressed with her ability to map out this process and then navigate a large group of internal stakeholders, taking them from aspirational thinking through to important and practical considerations in the planning of facilities. Sue was also able to translate the outcomes of the workshops into the written documentation we needed for tendering.”  Juliet Byrnes

In 2019 The Soft Build worked with council staff to develop the future user experience and service design for the combined library, community centre and urban park.

Service Journey Mapping

Three workshops were held to develop detailed user profiles that would represent the whole community. What would the ideal visit look like? How would it change across the day, the week and the year? How would Council staff, used to managing in separate service areas, anticipate a new kind of community setting? Success was a visit that made you feel good.

The Soft Build is a strategy consultancy that helps people use buildings as a scaffold for organisational change.

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