A Micro Park is a small, human-scale, intimate place of high amenity. It contains physical elements that create design triangulation to support multiple passive recreation activities such as reading, eating, sitting and socialising. A micro park may contain components such as vegetation, somewhere to sit, interactive elements, possibly access to Wi-Fi and/ or power, possibly lighting and be visually interesting and inviting to use. A micro park may be temporary or permanent.
The Garema Place Micro Park project followed on from the success of the In My Backyard Experiment undertaken in 2016. The Backyard Experiment was a temporary installation of loose furniture, artificial lawn area and artworks that was installed in Garema Place for a week. The results of the Experiment showed that the installation significantly activated the space: visitation during the activation doubled and attracted a broad range of ages.
Above: Backyard Experiment (Australian Institute of Landscape Architects website)
The Micro Park project invited the community to submit ideas for the design of the Micro Park to be installed and placed in Garema Place in late 2017.
The community design competition was open from late August to September 2017 to all interested community members. Fourteen creative designs were received from a wide range of community participants. Six of these were shortlisted by the Micro Park jury for a community vote to determine the winner.
Two hundred and twenty-one community votes were received through the Yoursay website, the City library voting booth and the face to face pop up voting booth in Garema Place. The winning design The Grounds of Garema was a convincing winner, receiving eighty of the total votes. Prizes were given to the top three voted designs and all entrants were recognised in the award ceremony.
The Grounds of Garema was a design based upon intergenerational inclusiveness with a circular, vibrant and colorful yellow and white striped theme, 70’s inspired picnic tables, a piano, umbrellas, plantings, artificial grass, and a play podium based on a hyper real anime painting style with a telescope affixed for interactivity. It was designed to be a cozy space for congregation conversations, resting, playing, picnics and enjoying encouraging a holistic celebration of community life.
Above: The winning community design entry – The Grounds of Garema by the Henderson family
The Grounds of Garema design was finalised by the design consultant Spacelab to interpret the community design to ensure that it was achievable within the project budget and was feasible to build. The Micro Park was then constructed and installed by the contractor Glasscott Landscape and Civil ready for the Design Canberra Festival. The Micro Park was installed under the Plane trees in Garema Place for four weeks from 13 November to 18 December 2017.
In the final week of its installation in Garema Place a survey was undertaken on the Micro Park. Respondents liked that the Micro Park looked welcoming, colourful, vibrant and creative. They also liked that the Micro Park offered a good place to rest, sit, eat, meet and catch up with friends.
Above and Below: the Micro Park installed in Garema Place
The Micro Park was disassembled over the New Year period and reinstalled in the Woden Library forecourt on 15 January 2018.
A survey is being run in the library for the community to provide comments on the Micro Park. Respondents to date have positively commented that bringing the Micro Park has created a bright, fun and cheerful atmosphere that creates a sense of community and offers an attractive space for people to stay to socialise, read, chat, people watch and eat, creating a sense of community.
Above: The Micro Park installed in the Woden Library forecourt
The Micro Park will be removed from Woden in mid-May. Some elements such as the tables may be retained by the library for use. Please take a visit and let us know what you think.