An increased demand for green spaces and parklands as Australians seek ways to stay physically and mentally healthy has sparked a broader conversation for AVID Property Group (AVID) as they look to the future of their parks and seek resident input.

Masterplanned communities are comprehensively and thoughtfully pre-planned, therefore developers do not always get to work on projects that are informed by resident feedback as they are often designed well before buyers settle.

AVID’s masterplanned community − Bloomdale − in Diggers Rest, Victoria has completed over 30 stages and has taken the opportunity to gather detailed resident feedback during its last lockdown to develop a new park in Bloomdale’s Floré neighbourhood that will meet community expectations, needs and wants.

AVID General Manager Victoria Peter Vlitas said carrying out a community focus group at Bloomdale was essential to highlight how AVID could develop parks appropriate for our changing world.

“We’re currently in the final design phase of our Floré Park at Bloomdale and the results of the community focus group has as shown that we have an opportunity to create a space that encourages a wider range of people to use the park, to come more often, and to stay longer,” Mr Vlitas said.

Park visitation levels have increased above pre-COVID-19 levels globally[1] highlighting a demand for increased urban and community parks with safe and convenient access.

Recent studies have found that key factors behind the increased demand for parks include the opportunity to combat the negative impacts of social isolation, a desire to experience outdoor activities while people stay at home, and a desire to connect with nature to reduce boredom and distress[2].

The landscape team at CDA Design Group have worked closely with AVID for nine years on the park and streetscape designs for Bloomdale.

Associate Landscape Architect, Ninka Cook said COVID 19 may have given people a new appreciation for their parks and how they might use them.

“AVID has been proactive in approaching the community and we’re excited to work on a park project that will strive to meet resident expectations − being involved in a community focus group will in turn, give the residents a sense of ownership of the park,” Ms Cook said.

“There are fundamentals when it comes to park designs and while we’re keen to be creative and do something a bit different, it’s essential that we consider the basics.

“This includes providing clear sight lines for safety, ease of navigation through the space, a clear purpose of the park, space management to avoid conflicting activity areas, shade and facilities, and of course consideration of the natural elements such as views, vegetation and topography.

Following multiple lockdowns throughout 2020, more people were looking to get outside and enjoy their local green spaces.

“One of our design goals is to focus on both active and passive park uses for people of all ages – this could include break out spaces where children can play and explore, and where parents or adults can retreat to sit and unwind,” Ms Cook said.

“We have also created spaces where those working from home, have the ability to work outside the walls of their homes with break-out private spaces.”

The Floré neighbourhood park will be approximately one hectare in size and add to the existing seven hectares of green space at the Bloomdale community, which has always been one of biggest drawcards for residents moving to the community.

[1] Journal of Forestry Research, 2020, Impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on urban park visitation: a global analysis
[2] Journal of Forestry Research, 2020, Impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on urban park visitation: a global analysis