Church Housing’s Vertical Village project is up and running with approval now given for the research proposal and an ongoing submission of the ethics component through Macquarie university.
Planning for the theological underpinning of the project is also underway with topics being formulated and paper writers being approached.
For those new to the concept of Vertical Village, here is a simple explanation.
We all know about horizontal villages, whether we are consciously aware of it or not. We have either grown up in one or visited one at some stage.
Think of a country town with a town centre boasting the usual amenities; shops, police, fire station, church, community hall, parks and sporting fields, swimming pool, clubs as well as housing for the populace.
In this scenario most are within walking distance horizontally. These horizontal villages usually have a strong sense of community. People often work in the local area.
For those who grew up in the suburbs of a city, what you experienced is somewhat akin but on a larger scale. The amenities are still spread horizontally but with larger distances (no longer walkable). Sense of community is somewhat less as commuting to work and the centralisation of amenities in large regional marketplaces means travelling outside the local community.
Since the invention of the lift, higher density living has been possible and with the increasing world population, inevitable. With less horizontal space available, density needed to become vertical. But vertical density whilst still working on the horizontal village model has created loss of community and isolation of individuals and families.
The communal space available in these higher density areas was created on the horizontal plane and cannot cope with the number of people wanting to use it. People have little or only passing contact with neighbours.
The Vertical Village concept seeks to address this problem by asking the question “How can we provide the necessary amenities vertically alongside/within housing developments where communities can develop and flourish?”
The aim of this research is to explore how faith-based organisations (FBO) can facilitate place-making and community development in multicultural high-rise, mix-tenure and high-density urban environments.
Planned project tasks
- explore examples of FBO-led and secular community development in high density, multi-cultural urban environments
- design a case study on Macquarie Park & other developments
- research the ways in which place-making and community development can be helped in mix-tenure developments through urban design and practice
- conduct and evaluate community-development workshops to explore the assets, resources, networks and capacities of local FBOs and residents to grow connections and enhance place-making in Macquarie Park.
- develop an online toolkit and research report to inform urban design, place-making and community development in high density urban environments
- write a theology of place and community to inform both village design and church engagement