My Park Rules announces winners

Marrickville Public School celebrates with Anthony Albanese MP

Marrickville Public School celebrates with Anthony Albanese MP

Marrickville Public School is the winner of the $100,000 My Park Rules competition playground transformation.

The contest, hosted by AILA and 202020 Vision, encouraged schools to submit ideas on how to reinvigorate their outdoor spaces.

Jury Chair Kylie Legge, from Place Partners, says the winning New South Wales school’s community spirit inspired the jury of landscape and greening experts, which included Lucy Turnbull.

“The community of students, staff and parents illustrates how the creation of a shared vision can also be a call to arms to be the change you want to see in the world,” she says.

Expanses of hard asphalt will be lifted to make way for green space, including an orchard zone to grow food with the local community. Tract Consultants designed the new space in collaboration with the school.

Proud sponsor Street Furniture Australia will supply furniture as specified by Tract.

Julie Lee, director of Tract, says the design will accommodate for local community events after school hours, as well as for students at play time.

“Despite this inner west area being known for its growing café scene and gentrification, there are still considerable social and environmental issues that need to be addressed and a new community park will play a part in creating long term positive change for this area,” she says.

“Working with the school community we learnt about their challenges. Sixty per cent of the students come from ethnically diverse backgrounds where English is not the first language spoken at home. The school’s playground is directly under a major flight path and 65 per cent of the population live in medium or high density dwellings compared to 40 per cent in Greater Sydney.

“We envisage Marrickville Primary School as part of a wider green network that offers an exciting place not only for the school, but opens up the space on weekends for broad community use in functions, markets and events.

“Encouraging social enterprises empowers multiple uses of the space and also creates a culture of place rooted in social capital and identity.”

The jury was also moved by the story of Northern Territory state finalist Alice Outcomes of Centralian Senior College, teamed with CLOUSTON Associates, to award a special Jury’s Prize.

The Alice Springs alternative campus invites disengaged youth, including young parents, to return to school and finish their studies.

“When we learnt that sometimes temperatures in the school grounds can reach over 45°C, and looking at the current space that has little trees and shading to cool it, we knew that we couldn’t see this school go without a much needed well-designed green space,” says Legge.

The jury envisions students and the broader community taking part in the ongoing design, build and maintenance, potentially also building a sense of belonging, ownership, empowerment and value.

“This is no ordinary school. The redevelopment of this space can change young lives and provide a bright future,” says Shahana McKenzie.

“We are committed to assisting this park to be realised using the jury, existing sponsors and community support.”

The school has set up a crowdfunding page seeking support from the public to build the shaded areas, plants, garden and paving designed with CLOUSTON.

Western Australia’s Highgate Primary School, partnered with UDLA, is also named highly commended for its strategic approach and delivery plan.

“The Highgate submission provides a model for other schools facing external pressures from local population growth; illustrating that schools can be proactive in developing their own strategic vision for change,” says Legge.

The jury says it is impressed by the leadership of the children and how UDLA included their creativity in the final designs.

“The design builds on the existing assets of significant trees to create series of outdoor rooms suitable for many purposes that help define the different school zones. The design plans seem thoroughly achievable and took full advantage of existing natural assets,” the judges note.

The next step for My Park Rules, says McKenzie, is to work towards an industry and community crowd-funding plan to build each of the entrants’ parks.

“We conducted this project around the country resulting in 100 entrants and over 35,000 public votes showing support for the initiative. What we have ended up with is not just eight parks that need to be built but hundreds around the country,” she says.

“We can see there is massive community demand for more well-designed green spaces to be placed into learning areas for children throughout Australia. This will not only benefit their health and wellbeing, but also help cool down warmer areas and mitigate the effects of climate change.”

Hot, hard bitumen at Marrickville Public School

Hot, hard bitumen at Marrickville Public School

From Marrickville's winning design proposal

From Marrickville’s winning design proposal

Before: The outdoor space for Alice Outcomes

Before: The outdoor space for Alice Outcomes

Proposal for Alice Outcomes

Proposal for Alice Outcomes


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