Transforming housing challenges into strong communities.

How South Hedland and Bentley are overcoming a history of social challenges to become residential hot spots with a focus on the future.

Urban redevelopment faces the challenges of both the old and the new. How can complex social contexts be addressed and built into successful communities? How can we ensure that strong connections and local leadership grow with the community into the future?

Creating Communities has worked with the Housing Authority on a number of urban redevelopment projects, most notably South Hedland New Living (since 2006) and the Bentley Regeneration Project (since 2013). In each case we have successfully engaged with stakeholders to build human capacity, create opportunities and bring new life to fragmented communities. South Hedland has become the location of choice for new residents in the Port Hedland area, and Bentley’s residents are embracing the changes coming to the suburb.

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Planning places for people.

Both of these projects required a powerful shift in both the level of community engagement and public perception. South Hedland in particular has experienced a history of social issues, and has suffered from negative public image and a high resident turnover as a result. Part of our strategy focussed on fostering the idea of South Hedland as ‘home,’ with strong messaging around community pride and inclusivity. People came to identify strongly with the place – a critical success from a planning perspective.

In both projects we have brought the community together for activities and recreation, making use of the investment in public spaces and new amenities. Creating Communities consulted with residents and kept them informed at every step. We took care to make sure residents understood their value to the process, and empowered them to take ownership of the new opportunities created by the redevelopment.

Excelling at the nexus.

In the simplest terms, our role in both of these projects has been to forge connections. We have worked with government agencies, not-for-profit organisations and the community itself and brought them all together to see what is possible. This nexus of communication was the starting point these communities needed to flourish, and they have seized the opportunity.

Each of these projects also represents a unique point in the regeneration process. After a decade of community development, South Hedland is a testament to the power of communities to transform themselves. Bentley is only at the beginning of that process, but already residents are coming together around community initiatives and taking an active role in the decision-making process.