Camberwell Laneways VIC, Australia (2014)

Wave benches, designed by Oculus, breathe new life into Camberwell Laneways.

When the Boroondara Council looked at the dull, service-only laneways in the Melbourne suburb of Camberwell, it saw an opportunity to reflect the character of a community. What it ended up with had even greater potential: a blueprint for laneways that could revitalise the wider municipality.

“There is a lack of public seating in the area, so we engaged Street Furniture Australia.”

An initial trial took place in Market Lane, a thoroughfare leading from Burke Road to a car park, which hosts the Camberwell Fresh Food Market from Tuesday to Saturday each week. “It started as a thoroughfare where traders and the Rotary Club wanted to do something to liven it up and make it more useful “ says Boroondara Council Senior Landscape Architect Katie Williams. “There is a lack of public seating in the area, so we engaged Street Furniture Australia.”

Adding Character…

One limitation was a lack of space. The narrow path required a design that could run along the wall while still allowing public access. The council required fluid, playful seats that could be customised in a linear fashion to be run along the wall of the lane.

Another challenge was the privately owned buildings on either side. The council needed solutions that would make the area vibrant without, say, mounting canopies to the building walls. Instead, local artist Nicole Tattersall was commissioned to create a mural along the theme of playfulness to tie into the relationship with the Camberwell market. She created a colourful storybook mural, telling of two children who go fishing near an orchard and dream of apple pie.

Public Consultation…

The council has also invited the public to offer further suggestions for other laneways as part of the Camberwell Laneways Discussion Paper, which asked the public to consider how the spaces might be used differently or what attributes they would like to see. A survey was mailed to 4300 residents, tenants and absentee property owners within 250 metres of the junction. Information was available at the council office and online, and promoted through traditional and social media. Then in April, a community consultation session was held in the completed Market Laneway with atmosphere provided by a jazz trio and colourful buntings showcasing pedestrian suggestions.

The council collected approximately 450 survey responses. While some ideas were outlandish, such as installing a climbing wall or a regular petting zoo, many liked the idea of public art and plants in laneways. Some suggested amenities such as seating, lighting and weather protection could be improved, and others supported active community events, youth activities and opportunities for local businesses.

The Market Lane pilot project helped the Boroondara Council understand some of the issues associated with laneway improvements, according to Williams. With positive community feedback and excitement around subsequent laneway ideas, the council is now looking at a strategy considering laneways across the municipality.

“We’ve only just started looking at the other major centres, so we haven’t calculated the number of existing lanes – but surprisingly, Camberwell itself had more than 50″ she says. “We’re not going to be able to do something in all those lanes, but we’ll look at prioritising them and focusing on key locations for future improvements.”

This case study was first published by Mahlab Media in Public Works Professional (September–October 2014).

Photos courtesy of Boroondara Council and KB Kings band.

Camberwell Laneway

Camberwell Laneway

A community mural and benches add vibrancy

Wave benches, designed by Oculus, breathe new life into Camberwell Laneways.

When the Boroondara Council looked at the dull, service-only laneways in the Melbourne suburb of Camberwell, it saw an opportunity to reflect the character of a community. What it ended up with had even greater potential: a blueprint for laneways that could revitalise the wider municipality.

“There is a lack of public seating in the area, so we engaged Street Furniture Australia.”

An initial trial took place in Market Lane, a thoroughfare leading from Burke Road to a car park, which hosts the Camberwell Fresh Food Market from Tuesday to Saturday each week. “It started as a thoroughfare where traders and the Rotary Club wanted to do something to liven it up and make it more useful “ says Boroondara Council Senior Landscape Architect Katie Williams. “There is a lack of public seating in the area, so we engaged Street Furniture Australia.”

Adding Character…

One limitation was a lack of space. The narrow path required a design that could run along the wall while still allowing public access. The council required fluid, playful seats that could be customised in a linear fashion to be run along the wall of the lane.

Another challenge was the privately owned buildings on either side. The council needed solutions that would make the area vibrant without, say, mounting canopies to the building walls. Instead, local artist Nicole Tattersall was commissioned to create a mural along the theme of playfulness to tie into the relationship with the Camberwell market. She created a colourful storybook mural, telling of two children who go fishing near an orchard and dream of apple pie.

Public Consultation…

The council has also invited the public to offer further suggestions for other laneways as part of the Camberwell Laneways Discussion Paper, which asked the public to consider how the spaces might be used differently or what attributes they would like to see. A survey was mailed to 4300 residents, tenants and absentee property owners within 250 metres of the junction. Information was available at the council office and online, and promoted through traditional and social media. Then in April, a community consultation session was held in the completed Market Laneway with atmosphere provided by a jazz trio and colourful buntings showcasing pedestrian suggestions.

The council collected approximately 450 survey responses. While some ideas were outlandish, such as installing a climbing wall or a regular petting zoo, many liked the idea of public art and plants in laneways. Some suggested amenities such as seating, lighting and weather protection could be improved, and others supported active community events, youth activities and opportunities for local businesses.

The Market Lane pilot project helped the Boroondara Council understand some of the issues associated with laneway improvements, according to Williams. With positive community feedback and excitement around subsequent laneway ideas, the council is now looking at a strategy considering laneways across the municipality.

“We’ve only just started looking at the other major centres, so we haven’t calculated the number of existing lanes – but surprisingly, Camberwell itself had more than 50″ she says. “We’re not going to be able to do something in all those lanes, but we’ll look at prioritising them and focusing on key locations for future improvements.”

This case study was first published by Mahlab Media in Public Works Professional (September–October 2014).

Photos courtesy of Boroondara Council and KB Kings band.

Camberwell Laneway

Camberwell Laneway

A community mural and benches add vibrancy

similar projects

Mosman Council

Street Furniture supplied a number of seats and benches to Mosman Council as part of its civic area upgrade in 2013. The Classic Promenade Seat and Classic Galleria Bench were chosen for their timeless design, classic profile and ergonomic comfort. The seats and benches have been installed along Military Road, Mosman Square and around the Civic Centre.

  • 12 jan 2015
read more

The Rocks

In partnership with the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Street Furniture Australia has provided new, stronger planter boxes to line the historic streets and laneways of The Rocks. In this iconic tourist destination, the planters create an attractive streetscape environment for locals and visitors alike. A popular option among councils across Australia.

  • 5 jan 2015
read more

Glebe Park

Concourse Seats were installed as part of the refurbishment of Glebe Park in Canberra, together with Slim Bollards. Powdercoated in green, the urban Concourse Seat has been restyled into a park setting that blends nicely into its surroundings.

  • 3 feb 2015
read more