'Designing out crime' in Barangaroo's Headland Park

Headland Park (courtesy of Barangaroo Development Authority)

Headland Park (courtesy of Barangaroo Development Authority)

In summary: 
  • The research centre Designing Out Crime has been working with the Barangaroo Delivery Authority on the design and management of the new Headland Park
  • The Headland Park research will be part of a workshop at Design + Crime, a two-day international conference and design exhibition at UTS on 12 and 13 December

Architects, urban planning professionals and academics from diverse backgrounds will put their heads together next month to explore new ways to prevent crime through good design and management at Sydney’s latest and most high-profile public space, Barangaroo’s Headland Park.

The new Headland Park at Barangaroo will be a key case study at ‘Design + Crime’, a two-day international conference and design exhibition hosted by Designing Out Crime (DOC) at UTS on 12 and 13 December.

Kim Wan and Lindsay Asquith (by Xavier Mayes)Kim Wan and Lindsay Asquith (by Xavier Mayes)

The DOC research centre, an initiative of the NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice in partnership with UTS, is internationally recognised as a leader in innovative, creative and socially responsive design.

The Barangaroo case study, which will involve a part-day site visit and workshop, is part of the DOC research centre's work with the Barangaroo Delivery Authority to better inform the design and management of Headland Park.

"When the Barangaroo Delivery Authority approached us, we quickly realised they shared a similar constructive approach to good management and crime prevention in Headland Park," DOC research assistant Kim Wan said.

Earlier in 2012, DOC presented the Authority with a localised best-practice guide of the design and management practices of many similar parks in Sydney.

The potential conflicts between different activities in Headland Park were of great interest to the Barangaroo Delivery Authority, as was its connection to the rest of Barangaroo and the surrounding Millers Point neighbourhood and Sydney CBD.

"Parks are really interesting areas because, more than acting as public landmarks, they're used for everything from outdoor gyms to people's backyards," Ms Wan said.

"Our study brought together a holistic picture of how Headland Park could function within such a high-profile area of the city, including how to encourage people to claim ownership and care about the park.

"The more people are using the park at all times of the day, the less of a need to rely on deterrents such as gates and camera surveillance," said Ms Wan.

DOC is doing further work with the Barangaroo Delivery Authority to develop specific recommendations for the Headland Park.

"The Headland Park is in a unique position to learn how older parks have had to adapt to changing activities, such as personal fitness and cycling, and other factors such as an increasingly urban population," DOC research officer Lindsay Asquith said.

After two years of thorough research, won't Wan and Asquith be sick of talking about the park?

"Though we've been in discussions with many stakeholders already, the conference workshop is a great opportunity to collaboratively involve crime prevention specialists from NSW police, local park management authorities, local council and transport officials.

"It won't only be design-orientated; we'll be examining how Headland Park will actually function, which will be incredibly useful in preparing the recommendations.

"I know both DOC and the Barangaroo Delivery Authority have both benefited from this work," Ms Asquith said.

"It’s rewarding to provide professional guidance on improving what will be such a unique and high-profile feature of Sydney," Ms Wan said.

To download the DOC summary report, visit barangaroo.com.

The Design + Crime conference will be held at UTS on 12 and 13 December. For more information, visit designandcrime.com.

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