Page 40 - Final Report-8 NO TRANSPARENCY

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Resilient urban systems:
a socio-technical study of community scale climate change adaptation initiatives
“We make decisions communally. Whether you are sharing a clothes line or whatever, the
fact that you are sharing, you have to talk with one another, and negotiate.” (W2)
“Initially and with the standard approach, they said oh… we’ll have four to six people or
something and then just an annual meeting, and very quickly that dropped off and it’s
every household at every meeting – you know there is no committee we are all members
and everybody’s invited to every meeting. There’s a fair bit of red wine goes around on
the night so you know, it’s a social event really…” (W7)
The value of this sharing is evident from the householder interviews where different residents are associated
with certain types of knowledge and expertise, and their help is sought accordingly depending on whether
the question or problem concerns the water system, solar panels, water tank, garden or other component.
Knowledge sharing in the community has also led some householders to adopt or enhance other
sustainable practices not directly related to their water and energy use - such as recycling, personal worm
farms, and using non-toxic cleaning products.
At Aurora, the “newness” of the community and the less well-developed community
organisation, were noted by some households more than others:
“Probably because it’s not an established suburb, you know, we don’t have that sense of
community yet, well we do, but you know we have to help grow it to that point.” (A7)
“It’s not much of a neighbourhood around here unfortunately. People tend to keep to
themselves. We came from a street where everybody knew each other and we had street
parties. I guess that’s with any new development, there has to be people around who
are willing to kind of put themselves out there and put a bit of extra time into creating
something.” (A9)
However, for respondents involved in the Aurora Community Association, their reported range of options for
dealing with problems is noticeably expanded:
“We get to learn a lot from each other, and with the problems that I had with the guttering.
I mean, it affected next door and it’s affected a few of these houses, so we’re able to sort
of band together.” (A13)
They have gained a greater knowledge of who lives in the community and the associated skills and
expertise that they can utilise in different situations. The ACA provides a forum for sharing knowledge within
the community through organised activities, workshops and tours; there is also exposure to more formal
learning through lectures, seminars and courses organised through Whittlesea Council and Places Victoria.
Over half of interviewed householders did not participate in the Association and several were not aware
of it. Structural factors may be at play here. Most interviewees appear to be time-poor due to family
commitments, work and travel needs. Basic services such as shopping, taking kids to school, visiting cafes,
libraries etc. are not localised, leading to car-dependency.
In contrast, householders at WestWyck are at different stages in their lives, are less car dependent and
have services located nearby. They are therefore less time-poor and more able and ready to participate
in the Owners’ Corporation (OC), which also serves a more central function in this small community with
systems that require a level of co-management. An additional difference between WestWyck and Aurora,
and perhaps a contributing factor in their different levels of community cohesion, is that the developers at
WestWyck sought to embed community cohesion into its design and development from the start, while at
Aurora, Places Victoria attempted to build it
developing the estate.