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One of Australia’s most progressive master-planned communities, Woodlea, is raising the bar for innovation by pioneering a new ‘Smart Community’ initiative, officially unveiled by the Victorian Premier earlier this week.
An adaptation of the State Government’s ‘Smart Cities’ project, Woodlea’s joint developers, Victoria Investment and Properties (VIP) and Mirvac have tailored the program to suit the specific needs of a greenfield development, using the innovative use of technology to herald what it hopes will foster a better quality of life for the community’s future 20,000 residents.
Modelled on world-leading ‘Smart Cities’ like Barcelona, New York and Singapore which are currently driving the movement, Woodlea has launched a number of ‘Smart Community’ initiatives that incorporate innovation, technology, learning and data, to create a healthy, happy, safe and connected community of the future.
The Smart Community project will initially focus on three pillars; Smart Learning, Smart Safety and Smart Wellbeing, in a move to create local learning and job opportunities, enhance the safety of the local community and improve residents’ wellbeing.
Woodlea is launching a ‘smart learning hub’, housed near the community café - Go West Eatery and Tuckshop, where residents and members of the local community will be able to enrol in various vocational courses and online education and technical classes.
Courses will include an Introduction to Community Services, Responsible Service of Alcohol, and Building and Construction courses. Classes can be run remotely via live video conferencing or in-house by Djerriwarrh Community and Education Services, the Master Builders Association and Winslow Constructors.
“Our focus has always been on increasing the education and career opportunities available for residents and the local community, with plans already in place for additional courses to be introduced at Woodlea in the future, opening up opportunities for roles in administration, health services, hospitality and the construction industry,” said Woodlea Project Director, Matt Dean.
For Djerriwarrh Community and Education Services, it was Woodlea’s innovative approach and dedication to ensuring the new community would have access to education facilities right from the beginning that made them want to be part of the program.
“Djerriwarrh Community and Education Services looks to deliver education and training classes across the Melton City Council area and we were impressed with Woodlea’s plan to deliver educational courses at such an early stage for the development,” said Djerriwarrh Community and Education Service’s Chief Executive Officer, Trish Heffernan
“It is rare for new developments to include such an easy access to learning and we look forward to delivering face to face classes to the local community.”
In a joint initiative in conjunction with Victoria Police and City of Melton, Woodlea will be investing in a network of ‘smart street lights’ throughout the community that offer video surveillance and wi-fi capabilities, in order to beam footage in real time to the various authorities to improve safety and security response times.
Woodlea is working closely with Victoria Police and City of Melton to identify key locations for each smart street light. The first street light and accompanying surveillance camera is already in place with the remainder to be installed as the development matures.
The new program will be designed with the aim to remain at Woodlea long after the development has reached completion, with an anticipated 25 smart street lights to be implemented by 2025.
“A community has a greater ability to thrive when people are able to come together in a connected and welcoming environment, our goal at Woodlea is to create a safe environment for generations to come so we are incredibly excited to be working with Victoria Police and Melton City Council to deliver unprecedented safety enhancement measures through the smart street light technology,” added Matt Dean.
To launch its Smart Wellbeing initiative, Woodlea is partnering with the Institute of Future Environments at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), to develop an interactive ‘One Up Wellbeing Study’, to better understand and react to the needs of its residents.
Hailed as a first of its kind to be targeted at community connectedness in greenfield estates, the wellbeing study will collate valuable data about residents’ views on health, wellbeing, community connectivity and sense of safety within the estate.
The data will be used to inform future decisions throughout the community across infrastructure, amenity, masterplanning, governance and community health, and will be gathered via an interactive booth that prompts residents to interact with and respond to a series of interactions and stimuli relating to each key area.
Regular collation of the study’s results from Woodlea residents will be complimented by input from an additional fifteen Woodlea families in a ‘One Up’ style format. This format will see the one-up families interviewed once a year for five years to evaluate how their needs, interests and views have changed as they grow and the community develops.
“Creating community connectedness requires a new way of engaging with residents and our focus for this study is to gather and analyse data about the community’s needs, and draw insights and opportunities that Woodlea can action for the future” said QUT’s School of Design Professor, Laurie Buys.
“Woodlea is well positioned to create a connected and vibrant community that will deliver good solutions to the issues that are truly important to its residents.”
“We are excited to be working with QUT to create a wellbeing study that is comprehensive and unique, delivering a pioneering new approach for understanding the community, which will in turn allow us to tailor the development to cater for the needs of residents living in Woodlea for many years to come,” added Matt Dean.
Woodlea’s new Smart Community program is supported by the City of Melton and Victorian Premier, The Hon. Daniel Andrews MP, who have commended the development for its dedication to supporting the community and ensuring not only residents, but future generations are looked after for years to come.
“Community wellbeing is a key deliverable of the City of Melton Council Plan, and as such, we are delighted that Woodlea and QUT are delivering this innovative initiative within the City of Melton. It will no doubt provide a unique insight into proactive community development, and inform our program and service development, going forward,” said City of Melton Council CEO, Kelvin Tori.
The Premier helped Woodlea launch the Smart Community Program on the 5th October. This will be followed by a residents’ only Night Market on Friday 7th October and a Spring Weekends of Wonderment series for the public on the Saturday the 8th and Sunday the 9th of October including free entertainment and activities for families.
The Woodlea Sales and Discovery Centre, located at 25 Woodlea Boulevard, is open daily from 10:00am to 5:00pm.
For further information visit www.woodlea.com.au or contact a Woodlea sales consultant, on 1300 WOODLEA (1300 966 353).
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