West End project wins national prize
West End's diverse population, which is still recovering from last year's devastating floods, is in the spotlight of a national prize-winning project by graduates from Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
The grads are maintaining a fine tradition of QUT urban planning students winning the prestigious Planning Institute Australia (PIA) Outstanding Student Achievement Award, at both state and national levels.
The win, announced at this month's PIA Awards for Planning Excellence, was for the West End - Building Social Resilience project.
Jess Binch (nee Chatwin), along with her classmates Fiona Hannam, Rachel Daniels, Heather West, Lachlan McClure and Samantha Loxton, undertook their project to build the social infrastructure of West End's unique neighbourhood during the final year of their Bachelor of Urban Development degrees last year.
"As West End becomes the increased focus for urban renewal projects, with a significant number of old commercial areas being redeveloped into residential precincts, there's growing need for facilities to service this growing and changing community," Jess said.
"The West End community is very diverse, which is important to consider when evaluating available social and community infrastructure and services. Those that live in the area are of all ages and come from a variety of cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds."
Jess said her group asked residents and business owners what they and their neighbours needed in West End, and researched what existing facilities were available to them.
"Last years' floods destroyed a lot of homes around the edge of West End peninsular, and our project found many residents, especially those in the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum, were still finding it hard to recover," she said.
"We found there were a lot of mental health issues in the area and not a lot of social services for them.
"We also found aging members of the community who had lived there all their lives, and wanted to continue living there, didn't have many facilities, so we recommended a bowling club and more aged facilities in the area.
"There's also a lot of need for increased capacity in schools and child care facilities. With a growing number of families in the area, existing facilities are being pushed to their limit."
Jess said the group's award success wouldn't have been possible without the dedicated help of the group's lecturer, Professor Phil Heywood, and tutor Stephanie Dee.
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- Rachael Wilson, QUT media unit, 07 3138 9449 or firstname.lastname@example.org (Wed/Thu)
- Rose Trapnell, team leader, QUT media unit, 07 3138 2361 or email@example.com