#WodenExperiment to Activate Square

Woden-thoroughfare

Street Furniture Australia, with support from the ACT Government, has begun the Discovery phase for #WodenExperiment, a six-month furniture installation to activate Woden Town Square in Canberra.

Members of the community, local businesses and politicians gathered to discuss the project and share their experiences of the square at a workshop held in March.

Around 40 participants brainstormed issues and opportunities for the square around Retail Experience, Community Involvement, Comfort and Amenity, and Wow Factor.

“It was exciting to see so many people filling the room, with a great mix of people from community, business and local government creating an atmosphere of high energy and interest,” says Diana Hill, Manager Capital Works – Urban with Transport Canberra and City Services.

“As a result many great ideas about issues and opportunities were discovered and collected by Street Furniture Australia.

“It was heartening to hear people voicing the importance of everyone contributing to the Woden Experiment and recognising that for it to be a great success, it needs to be a collaborative exercise.”

Workshop-Post-It's-Woden

The workshop is part of a six-week user-centred Discovery phase, including empathy interviews, journey mapping and observation. A report will soon be delivered to the ACT Government and community, with recommendations for next steps.

“The aim is to see how we can re-energise this place to become more vibrant and welcoming for the community,” says Street Furniture Australia Design Director Mark Armstrong.

“It was wonderful to see people who work and live nearby, as well as representatives from local businesses and community groups, come along to help us understand their needs and wishlist for the square.

“This will help us to design a six-month installation that caters to the people who use this place each day, or to those who often pass through but currently do not spend time in the area.”

The meeting was attended by two local Murrumbidgee MLAs, Chris Steel for Labor, and Caroline Le Couteur for the Greens.

Woden Town Square is an open outdoor plaza in Phillip, Canberra, that links Woden Bus Station with a Westfield and the Library, Access Canberra, small businesses and offices for public service organisations such as the Department of Health.

The six-month project is results-driven and builds on the success of #BackyardExperiment in Garema Place, which created a popular, colourful, family friendly space in a place similar to Woden Town Square.

“In October 2016, #BackyardExperiment increased foot traffic by almost 200%, and attracted more families, couples, seniors and social groups to spend time in a thoroughfare,” says Street Furniture Australia Marketing Manager June Boxsell.

“Adding some colour, lawn, moveable tables and seats, and colourful lights at night, created a welcoming atmosphere and transformed the area for the eight days of the activation. We want to see similar results for Woden, this time with a longer-term installation that tracks how the activation performs through seasonal change.

“It was inspiring to meet the community and see how passionate they are about this place. Everyone has strong opinions about the changes we could make, but the good news is we all want to see a more welcoming, comfortable town square for Woden.”

To join the movement, follow #WodenExperiment on Facebook.

The SFA team observed and mapped foot traffic in the square. The routes have corresponding desire lines in the lawn spaces.

The Discovery team observed and mapped common foot traffic paths. These can be seen in desire lines, below.

Desire Lines Woden

Desire lines appear in the worn lawn where people really want to walk.


make an enquiry

Opening hours are from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

enquire now

recent news

Australia’s First Smart Bench

PowerMe™ is Australia’s first smart bench. It is a table that integrates with a wide range of seats to enable people to sit back, connect and power up their phones. As we now rely on our phones to manage our schedules, catch up on news and for loved ones to contact us, especially in emergencies, running out of battery when out and about is not an option. Charging points in public spaces will provide peace of mind. The smart system is the first of its kind to be designed and made in Australia. It is compatible with Street Furniture Australia seats in different environments, including: The new Aria seating system, for modern, urban locations. The Classic Galleria range, for more traditional and heritage environments. The Mall range, classic and versatile to suit a …

  • 24 sep 2018
read more

Top 7 Must-See Festivities

Street Furniture Australia is proud to be sponsoring the 2018 International Festival of Landscape Architecture: The Expanding Field held 11-14 October at the Gold Coast this year. We summarise our top 7 must-see street furniture events and experiences. Book your festival tickets at the AILA website.   1. The Expanding Field Conference, at HOTA Home of the Arts. Friday October 12 to Saturday October 13. Curated by creative directors TCL, the Expanding Field Conference aims to promote the diversity within landscape architecture practice and its critical role in tackling contemporary challenges. The notion of expansion will be examined through six sessions: Pushing Boundaries; Reimagining Practice; Synergising Technologies; Expanding Territories; Cultivating Cultural Intersections; and Navigating Political Terrain. These topics provide the field of enquiry and will spark discussions on regenerative agriculture, post-colonial design, socio-political advocacy, cultural ecology, economics …

  • 17 sep 2018
read more

Trend Watch, September 2018

recycled Plastic Roads now on trial: Inventors are currently trialling recycled plastic road technology in the Netherlands, says The Economist, with a 30 metre bicycle track opened in early September. The first prefabricated PlasticRoad track in Zwolle consists of modular sections made in a factory from 70% recycled plastic and 30% polypropylene. Developers say it includes recycled plastic equivalent to more than 218,000 plastic cups or 500,000 bottle caps. Sensors to measure temperature, the number of bike passages, durability, flexing and the flow of water through drainage channels, are also fitted inside the path. Two Dutch firms – KWS, a road builder, and Wavin, a firm that makes plastic piping – are developing the product in partnership with Total, a French oil-and-gas firm. The trial follows an Australian test project installed in May, with a …

  • 17 sep 2018
read more

related news

Applying User-Centred Design to Public Space Activation

Street Furniture Australia has used empathy interviews, personas, observations, journey mapping and other user-centred research techniques to focus #WodenExperiment on the community. These qualitative methods unearth rich detail about the lives and needs of people who use Woden Town Square. The aim is to inform the design of the six-month installation with a “community first” philosophy. “We employ user-centred design techniques in the making of our furniture, and #WodenExperiment now offers the opportunity to apply this methodology to public places,” says Mark Armstrong, Street Furniture Australia Design Director. “One of the challenges of public space is meeting the needs of people from many different walks of life. Through our empathy interviews and observations of the town square we have come up with six key personas to design for. “The personas …

  • 22 may 2018
read more

#WodenExperiment on ABC Radio

ABC Radio Canberra’s Jolene Laverty chats with Street Furniture Australia’s June Boxsell about #WodenExperiment on Drive. The following is a transcript of the program, which aired on Wednesday April 4, 2018. JL. The social project that has increased foot traffic in Garema Place by 200% is going to be replicated in Woden. June Boxsell is the Design and Marketing manager of Street Furniture Australia and she runs these programs, hi June. JB. Hi there, thank you for having me. JL. Thank you for joining us. So it’s called the #WodenExperiment and it’s based on the very successful #BackyardExperiment, which was held in Garema Place a few years ago. Can you just take us back to 2016 and remind us what the Garema Place experiment was? JB. The #BackyardExperiment was a …

  • 13 apr 2018
read more

#WodenExperiment in the ACT Legislative Assembly

Following the #WodenExperiment Workshop, Chris Steel updated the ACT Legislative Assembly about the project. Below is a transcript of his speech. You can also watch the video on Facebook. Chris Steel: “I talk a lot in this place about Woden Town Centre, and I’m going to talk about it again today, because it is exciting to see change taking place in the town centre, the new residential developments, the light rail stage two on its way, and a new focus on placemaking in the centre now as well. “While many of the spaces in Woden are privately owned, those under ACT Government control present an opportunity for improvement and activation, particularly Woden Town Square. “On the 26th of March, Woden Library played host for the #WodenExperiment town hall, kicking off …

  • 17 apr 2018
read more