Woodlea Local Town Centre
Imagining and championing the vision for a flagship destination based local activity centre with entertainment and socialisation focused around a central and seamlessly integrated town park.
Almost as seamless as the finely curated weekly project meetings with Woodlea.
Who decided this was a good idea?
Mesh was commissioned by Woodlea, a partnership between VIP and Mirvac.
Local and State Government policy articulated their aspirations for Woodlea Town Centre as a best practice and placed based centre at the heart of the Woodlea Residential Community. No pressure! Mirvac (JV between VIP and Mirvac) engaged Mesh to help realise this vision, challenge the planning and design already prepared by Council and VPA, and respectfully navigate and guide stakeholders through this complex and sensitive process of visioning and change.
Where did all the great ideas come from?
Ideas come from unexpected places, so we wanted to make sure we created the most fertile ground for idea generation.
Some seeds of ideas came from the site context – through a curiosity of what the surrounding land uses have to offer. Others sprouted from site itself, germinating as a response to microclimate or through anticipating how the community would best move and travel between spaces.
We also wanted to understand what others had developed, what worked and what didn’t work. So we got in a bus. We toured around looking at best practice examples and not so best practice projects We learnt equally from both.
We investigated how streets and land uses would interact and activate the public space in different settings and cultures. European squares became a key inspiration for the project and helped inform the preferred scale and enclosure of the eventual town park.
It also inspired several Meshies to go on European holidays!
What did we discover that made sense of it all?
Our obsession with town squares, their scale, proportion, lead to the ultimate light bulb moment. We started to throw around ideas of consolidating the various linear spaces and pocket parks into a central public space that would be become a multifunctional space at the heart of the activity centre. We imagined it positioned along a leafy boulevard and on the Avenue of Honour, at the nexus of view lines, and traversed by a series of transecting walking/cycle paths.
- A town park at the heart of the village
- Residential development integrated into the LTC
- Built form to assist in managing climate conditions
- Convenient car parking that does not dominate the LTC
- A village with a diverse network of streetscapes
- A range of land uses that complement each other
How did we make it come to life?
We made it come to life by giving the project lots of energy and having lots of hands involved in crafting the vision. We involved the Council team in all steps of the Urban Design Framework journey including design tours, site visits and several progressive and engaging workshops. Each key move was passionately discussed and debated at length resulting in a shared understanding across the project team when it came to implementation.
We carefully crafted interface cross-sections which balanced the assumed objectives of a Main Street with the nuanced approach of the central town park.
We even made sure there were delicious craft beers at the corner tavern by securing a tedious yet ever so important liquor license.
Do people use it?
The UDF was used as the key guiding document throughout the detailed design and construction phases.
It is encouraging to see that Council have used Mesh’s concise and clear UDF structure as a guide for more recent UDF’s.
Woodlea Town is now a bustling destination for the growing community and the town park is full of life, kids joyfully running between the water fountains with parents watching on from the café and shoppers passively experiencing joy as they walk past.
Walking through the centre today you can clearly see the strong guidance the UDF provided.