Woden Experiment in the ACT Legislative Assembly

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Following the Woden Experiment 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.

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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 discussion on how we can better activate our public space in the square. The town hall was part of an initial six-week Discovery Phase of the #WodenExperiment project, funded by the ACT Government as part of our efforts to support regeneration at the town centre.

“We partnered with Street Furniture Australia, who are familiar to many in the Canberra community as those responsible for the #BackyardExperiment activation of Garema Place in 2016. Their pop-up featured new seating, greenery, lighting, and a range of colourful and vibrant additions to our city centre to make it a more welcoming place for people to sit, socialise and just spend time.

“Throughout #BackyardExperiment, visitors to Garema Place grew by almost 200%, results that we hope to emulate in Woden Town Square.

“The #WodenExperiment town hall in March gave members of the community an opportunity to outline how they use the square, their experiences of it, and their ideas about how to make it a place that people want to spend more time in, rather than its current use largely as a walkway from public service buildings located at Woden, through to the Westfield shopping centre.

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“It was acknowledged at the town hall some of the challenges of the space, particularly its windy nature, but also the opportunities of creating a more usable space to meet with others, dine, enjoy the sun, wait for a bus, and for children to play.

“It’s envisaged that the #WodenExperiment will see a six-month installation in the square which will activate the area and provide a better place for people to mingle, sit and just enjoy.

“This is in addition to the micro park installation which has already been in place since January near Woden Public Library and the Phillip Health Centre.

“Madam Deputy Speaker, the town hall was well-attended with representatives from the Public Transport Association of Canberra, the Woden Community Council, Woden Community Services, small business owners from Woden and perhaps most importantly, regular residents of Woden who want to see their town centre become more vibrant and a welcoming place.

“Street Furniture Australia has also been conducting detailed interviews with users of the square to include their feedback in the consultation. During this early stage I encourage all south-siders, particularly those living or working in Woden, to get involved in making Woden Town Square a better place for people, and supporting the government’s regeneration efforts in Woden.

“I look forward to seeing the Discovery report, and I’ll be keeping Woden residents updated as the project progresses.”

For more information about #WodenExperiment, see our StreetChat article, read the Discovery Report and follow the project on Facebook.


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