Can Social Planning tools help create resilient neighbourhoods in growth areas?

About Olivine

Olivine is a masterplanned greenfield precinct located in the suburb of Donnybrook in the City of Whittlesea; approximately 35 kilometres north of Melbourne’s Central Business District. The site comprises 187 hectares of land including 2250 residential lots, anticipated to be home to 7000 future residents.

The site is located on Donnybrook Road and surrounded by natural beauty and townships including Lockerbie Principal Town Centre to the west, which is the major centre planned to service the region; and the Craigieburn North Employment Area precinct to the south-west.

The vision of Olivine is to build a strong, self-sustaining community where nature provides a beautiful backdrop for people to begin a new story.

Key features of Olivine will include:

  • A multi-purpose community centre with café
  • Health services
  • Sporting facilities
  • Schools

Partnership with Resilient Melbourne

Over the next three years, Resilient Melbourne will be working in partnership with Mirvac and Whittlesea City Council to identify opportunities to apply Growth Areas Social Planning principles and tools to encourage social cohesion and community resilience in Olivine.

The following principles underpin the Growth Areas Social Planning Tool and model of participatory development to be delivered at Olivine:

  • Partnership approach. Broad and deep collaboration across all levels of government, community service providers, developers and residents is essential.

  • Community involvement. Residents to be involved as soon as possible in all decision-making processes.

  • Innovative. 'Thinking outside the box' encourages the development of creative and often more relevant and affordable local solutions addressing specific community need and requiring the partners to share knowledge, resources and funding.

  • Asset-based placemaking. The provision of dedicated place makers to gather community aspirations, strengths and capacities and to facilitate the development of community building initiatives.

  • Flexible and inclusive. One size does not fit all partnerships or communities. Communities are diverse and change over time, which requires flexible and inclusive responses.

  • Prevention focus. Prevention-focused programs delivered with universal services arrests the development of issues that can become entrenched and therefore difficult and costly to reverse.

  • Early delivery of community building initiatives. Early delivery of community building initiatives ensures the prevention of issues arising as well as early intervention and resolution when they do.

  • Sustainable. Sustainable models of partnership and delivery to be developed to ensure the process continues over the long-term.

  • Evaluation. Ongoing monitoring and evaluation is essential to ensure that communities are benefiting from the processes established and that those processes continue to be relevant.

    Academic experts will also be engaged from Queensland University of Technology to examine participatory development and levels of social cohesion in Olivine. It is envisaged that the project will uncover new learnings about how to plan strong, connected communities in undeveloped sites.


    Key partners

    City of Whittlesea


    Queensland University of Technology


    Resilient Melbourne is working with Mirvac and Whittlesea City Council to build community cohesion at Olivine through applied social planning principles and tools.


    Natalie McGlone - Resilient Communities Portfolio Manager, Resilient Melbourne

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