How we engaged our communities

From January to August 2022, we conducted an extensive program of community and industry engagement to understand the sentiment of communities who use the spaces, the performance and potential of each of our chosen activity centres, as well as industry perspectives of the municipality, and the role Stonnington plays within greater Melbourne.

Community engagement

An online survey was distributed via geo-targeting to each neighbourhood of the selected activity centres to understand the issues, opportunities and priorities of the community who live, work, visit and enjoy the spaces. These neighbourhoods included South Yarra, Prahran, Windsor, Armadale, Malvern, Toorak and Hawksburn.

We conducted workshops with business owners across retail, commercial, hospitality, health, beauty and management within each activity centre.

Intercept surveys were conducted in a mobile parklet that travelled to each activity centre. This targeted on-street responses where the community could provide direct feedback on their experience of the centres.

How we engaged:

  • Online surveys

    1210 online surveys completed

    85 of these by local businesses

  • Street surveys

    324 street talk intercept surveys

  • Interviews

    15 targeted industry interviews

  • Workshops

    6 workshops facilitated with

    48 businesses in key activity centres

  • Internal consultation

    5 internal discovery sessions with over

    60+ City of Stonnington employees

Additional insights:

  • Document Review

    Review of existing and draft Council strategies and action plans

  • Research

    Research and analysis on the

    economic, environmental and social trends impacting the municipality.

  • Data

    Review of internal and external data and statistics.

Main themes that emerged from community engagement:

  • The increased number of vacant tenancies as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as rental affordability, is of great concern and affects the once vibrant streets and laneways of most precincts.
  • Support for small businesses is imperative to ensure stability and growth.
  • Visitors to Stonnington are greatly valued and are an important part of a precinct’s prosperity and identity.
  • Place branding and location signifiers are needed to highlight and celebrate the unique identity of each precinct.
  • Strong community engagement and post-engagement communication from Council on projects and initiatives are appreciated.
  • More collaboration with landlords to improve the condition of buildings, facades, shopfronts and overall appeal is needed to boost the visitor economy.
  • Open public space, greenery and street furniture is an important offering for locals and visitors alike.
  • Safety and cleanliness on the street are of great importance.
  • Public and active transport improvements would be supported.
  • There is great support for the creation of vibrant precincts that are activated and serve a variety of purposes.

Industry engagement

Industry interviews were structured around key themes aimed to explore relationships with the economic profile of Stonnington. Industry stakeholders interviewed included representatives from many sectors: retail, health, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, professional services, business, manufacturing, creative, and education. These in-depth interviews provided key insights into why people choose to locate in Stonnington; the perceived advantages, challenges and opportunities.

Main themes that emerged from industry engagement

The main themes that have emerged from the interviews are:

  • The need to build strong networks to leverage and promote the local offering.
  • There is a tangible desire to reconnect post-lockdown.
  • Businesses would like to partner more with Council to access quicker, more innovative and flexible permitting processes.
  • A greater connection is desired with the various cohorts within the municipality to support creative and innovative businesses.
  • There is a perceived lack of identity to attract anchor businesses.
  • The need to promote Stonnington as a place to work and live for workers in key sectors is important.

Next Step:

Further refinement of the new Place Led Economic Development Strategy - Great Places Thriving Communities - and its seven place plans is currently underway.

The draft will be made available for public exhibition from 25 April - 16 May 2023.

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