Step 4 – current and future needs analysis

Public open space strategy guide for local governments.

Current needs – what is an adequate provision of public open space?

Defining what an adequate provision of public open space is, will form an aspirational standard delivery model and a clear baseline. For the purposes of aligning with state government policy the public open space provision requirements in liveable neighbourhoods are a good (and required) standard however the local government may develop a more thorough and locally significant definition in reference to best practice guidelines such as the Public Parkland Planning and Design Guide (DSR, 2014) especially for matters which are not covered in liveable neighbourhoods such as facility provision and development of public open space.

The standard public open space provision definition crafted here will form the baseline for the gap analysis conducted in step 5 and will guide implementation in order to meet this standard in steps 6 and 7. 

More information on defining adequate, standard public open space provision.

Future needs

Changing community needs may generate a demand for new or different facilities. This could occur due to:

  • population growth
  • a changing community (for example ageing, diversifying culturally or becoming more or less affluent); and
  • a general shift in community attitudes. For example, increased appreciation of natural and conservation values has increased demands for the retention and protection of land with landscape and environmental values.

A comprehensive ongoing program of research, profiling and consultation can gauge changing needs. The needs analysis may be focused on a particular community or on the future of a particular facility focusing on:

  1. community aspirations
  2. effective mix of provision
  3. how that provision might be staged, funded, developed, managed, programmed and resourced.

Needs are not likely to be homogeneous across a local government area. The recreation patterns and preferences of the whole community, of relevant community sub-groups, and of particular localities should all be considered.

More information on assessing changing community needs.

Community consultation

Understanding the community’s recreation aspirations helps identify and implement strategies to enhance the opportunities, experiences, benefits and the quality of life for the community.

The community should have the widest possible opportunity to put forward their views on three critical issues:

  1. which of the existing recreational provision works well and must be protected and strengthened?
  2. what recreational opportunities need fixing and how might they be fixed?
  3. what will ensure the community has access to the activities it would like to pursue?

 Community recreation needs and aspirations can be assessed through:

  • community, club or organisational surveys.
  • public meetings or on-site meetings.
  • personal interviews with key community members.
  • online map based consultation platforms such as ‘crowdspot’.

A survey of user satisfaction should include questions relating to:

  1. park usage: visitation to the park – how often, for how long, reasons for visiting
  2. park access – mode of transport to park, distance travelled, time taken to get to the park
  3. maintenance and provision of facilities – satisfaction with the state of park and facilities, requirements for additional facilities
  4. experiences – safety; security, accessibility
  5. participant profile – Where they live, accommodation type and access to outdoor areas, age and gender.

Where the local governments has a community engagement policy or guidelines, these should be utilised to formulate a consultation strategy.

The Planning Institute of Australia have developed a set of Public Participation Principles to guide good consultation:

  • promise that the public's contribution will be factored into the decision making process
  • promote sustainable decisions by recognising and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision makers
  • seek out and facilitates the involvement of those directly affected, and those with less confidence in public participation who tend to be excluded
  • seek input from participants about the methods used to obtain information responsive to varying needs;
  • provide participants with the information and support
  • communicate back to participants as a part of the process.
Page reviewed 09 March 2021