Neighbourhood and Belonging Living in the Communities of

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					           Neighbourhood & Belonging
Living in the communities of Canberra
                         Final Report

    Prepared for ACT Community Inclusion Board
                          Eureka Project 3226
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Executive summary                                                          1


Research context                                                           7
  2.1 Background                                                            7
  2.2 Research objectives                                                   9

Research design                                                            11
  3.1   Qualitative methodology                                            11
  3.2   Affinity group discussions                                         12
  3.3   Personal interviews                                                12
  3.4   Recruitment of research participants                               13

Research findings                                                          15
  4.2   Differences in perception of community & belonging by life stage   21
  4.5   Life in Canberra’s neighbourhoods & streets                        26
  4.7   People who disagreed that Canberra has a sense of community        28
  4.8   Social exclusion in Canberra                                       29

Conclusions                                                                31


Appendix A – Affinity group discussion guide                               34


Appendix B – Personal interview guide                                      38


Appendix C – Social diary                                                  42


Appendix D – Maps of group participants’ travel                            55
                                                                                                     1
                                                            This section provides an executive
                                                                       summary of the project




EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Research context

‘Building Our Community - The Canberra Social Plan’ was launched in February 2004 by the
ACT Chief Minister with the aim of developing a city in which all people can reach their
potential, contribute and share in the benefits of the community1.             The establishment of the
ACT Community Inclusion Board (the Board) was part of the first stage in the effective
implementation of the Canberra Social Plan. Eureka Strategic Research was engaged by the
Board to undertake research on the experience of social inclusion and quality of living in
Canberra’s suburbs, inner city and town areas.             These factors may be social, economic or
environmental, and may include elements such as social networks, religious groups, income
levels or geographical location in Canberra. The Board is especially interested in understanding
how a sense of belonging to one’s city, region, suburb or neighbourhood interacts with social
inclusion.     They were also interested in exploring how particular elements of Canberra’s
geographical structure, as well as the transient nature of the population, may exacerbate these
problems of social exclusion.


Research design

A purely qualitative methodology was selected as the most suitable approach for this project.
This research method was seen as being the most suitable means of examining Canberra and




1
    Building our community – the Canberra social plan, ACT Chief Minister’s Department, Canberra 2004.



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its people at a ‘micro’ level which enabled the researchers to investigate local diversity and
individual views of the city from the ‘inside’. To capture this information, Eureka conducted ten
affinity group discussions and ten personal interviews as follows. The group discussions were
conducted in ‘natural habitats’ spread across Canberra with groups of individuals who knew
each other through either private friendship networks, or more formalised social networks.
Face-to-face interviews were conducted in diverse locations with individuals who felt that
Canberra lacked a sense of community and who personally didn’t feel part of a broader
community.


Research findings

        FEELING OF COMMUNITY AT THE CANBERRA -WIDE LEVEL

The general response to Canberra as a city to live in was a positive one, especially from those
residents who have lived in the city for a longer period of time. Residents were generally fond
of the lifestyle that is offered by Canberra, noting such highlights as the clean environment,
open spaces and range of activities in which to take part.


A sense of community was seen as being expressed through large-scale events and
celebrations. Major annual events such as Floriade, the Canberra Festival and the Multicultural
Festival were all noted as events that encourage Canberrans to get together and celebrate the
city they live in.


Younger participants, however, were inclined to feel that there was a lack of social
opportunities for their age group, and that, while they appreciated the aforementioned positive
attributes of Canberra, these attributes were more attractive to families or older residents than
their specific demographic. Participants in general concurred with this view of Canberra as an
attractive city that caters very well for families and as a good place to bring up children.


The physical design of Canberra with low density, widely-dispersed suburbs and satellite town
centres was seen to have both positive and negative aspects. Due to the perceived limitations
of the public transport system, and the large distances between locations, it was felt that
residents were highly reliant on cars to get around the city.      While this ‘town centre’ model
meant that each centre was self-sufficient and self-contained, each of these centres was often
seen as too small in itself to develop much of a social ‘critical mass’ and an inviting street
culture.   There was a desire for more ‘destination centres’ with social and entertainment
opportunities, and efforts in this regard – particularly in relation to Civic and the Kingston
foreshore – were viewed quite favourably. Participants were happy to, and often did, commute
across the city to engage in social activities.




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Work was seen to be the basis for many social networks, particularly for those working in the
public sector. Conversely, there were perceived limitations on the social opportunities for those
not involved in the workforce.



    DIFFERENCES IN PERCE PTION OF COMMUNITY & BELONGING BY
                                         LIFE STAGE

Life stage had a large influence on each participant’s perception of their community and their
sense of belonging.     Younger residents often felt that the city didn’t directly cater for the
interests of people their age, and that there was a lack of diversity of social options.
Conversely, it was felt that young parents were very well catered for, with Canberra offering
them good education and recreational facilities. Older parents, however, tended to note that
social opportunities reduced as they aged and had less contact with other parents than when
their children were young.       However, there was a strong perception among this group –
particularly those approaching retirement age – that the additional time available to them
would allow them to reconnect with old friends and take advantage of the many social and
lifestyle (including health) facilities and opportunities that Canberra offers for older people.
Quite a few participants in this age group also expressed a desire to engage in more
volunteering opportunities in retirement.



                            NEWER CANBERRA RESID ENTS

Recent arrivals to Canberra agreed that it was a friendly city, but that it could be difficult to
broach existing social networks and circles.     This was exacerbated by the perceived ‘self-
containment’ of many Canberrans, but could be offset by participating in formal social
activities.   Some of these newer residents, however, felt that there was little motivation for
them to seek out social networks due to the fact that they planned to live in Canberra on a
temporary basis only (due to a work contract, study period, etc.).



               CULTURAL DIVERSITY S EEN AS A KEY STRENGT H

Almost all participants saw the cultural and ethnical diversity of Canberra as one of its great
strengths, as well as a source of pride. Participants felt the embracing of various cultures was
most likely driven by the generally well educated population, as well as the fact that Canberra
attracts most of the foreign embassies as the national capital. Some new migrants, however,
felt that they had encountered obstacles in attempting to interact with a diverse range of
Canberrans outside of their ethnic sub-community.




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          LIFE IN CANBERRA’S N EIGHBOURHOODS & STRE ETS

There was a great lack of consistency in participants’ views on whether they felt a sense of
community or belonging in their local neighbourhoods, with some reporting regular contact and
close ties, while others stated that they would rarely, if ever, see their neighbours let alone
have any meaningful contact with them.            Younger participants often felt that their
neighbourhood lacked sufficient social opportunities, while older residents were more satisfied
with the opportunities in their neighbourhood.     Despite the divergence of opinion on these
matters, the vast majority of participants reported being happy with the suburb or
neighbourhood that they lived in. There was not a strong perception that a greater sense of
community or belonging needed to be fostered at the neighbourhood level.              In general,
Canberra was perceived by the majority of participants as small enough that such feelings were
manifested at a city-wide rather than neighbourhood level.



                 PARTICIPATI ON IN ORG ANISED ACTIVITIES

Canberra was seen to offer ample opportunities for individuals to participate in organised or
group activities, with the many participants having taken advantage of such opportunities. Life
stage, and hence time available to participate in such formal organised activities, emerged as
an important factor in participation levels. For some there existed a vague desire to participate
in more formal activities, but a lack of readily accessible information about how to get involved
meant that this remained something they might get around to doing at a later point in time.



     PEOPLE WHO DISAGREED THAT CANBERRA HAS A SENSE OF
                                        COMMUNITY

Depth interviews with those who disagreed that Canberra has strong sense of community or
belonging, and who also said they did not personally have a feeling of belonging to the broader
community, allowed some exploration as to the views of those Canberrans who perhaps felt
more can be done to foster greater social inclusion.


None of the participants in the depth interviews conducted identified themselves as being
socially excluded to any degree, and most reported they were generally quite satisfied with the
social networks they had developed.     Possibly the key area in which they differed was their
perceptions regarding the overall ‘friendliness’ (or lack thereof) of Canberra as a whole. There
was generally a keener sense among these residents that it can be difficult to break into
existing social networks in Canberra.




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                        SOCIAL EXCLUSION IN CANBERRA

From this study, there seems to be certain sectors of the community that are much less likely
to experience exclusion (those working in some capacity, those with a car or not reliant solely
on public transport, and those engaging in formal activities) and those that are at more risk
(those not working, and those who must rely on public transport – particularly those who live in
outer lying suburbs).   In saying this, most participants struggled to nominate sectors of the
Canberra community who they consider socially excluded through personal or direct
experience. Rather, most respondents suggested sections of the community that are probably
equally at higher risk of social exclusion in any other parts of Australia – the elderly, those with
a disability, the mentally ill and those for whom English is a second language.


From this study, those more obviously at risk of exclusion in Canberra include the following
groups:


   Late teens, particularly those from a lower socio-economic background;


   Young adults/DINKS who are new to Canberra;


   Elderly people, particularly where mobility is an issue, may start to feel socially isolated;
    and


   New migrants struggling to meet people and establish friendships with ‘Aussies’, rather
    than with only other migrants or people from the same cultural background.


While few had experienced social exclusion directly, many participants said Canberra is not
without its share of social problems.      Homeless people, the mentally ill, or drug-addicted
residents of Canberra were all suggested as those most likely to experience social isolation and
exclusion.


Conclusions

From those we spoke to in this research, it is clear that many of the objectives of Canberra’s
Social Plan, and specifically those seeking to minimise social exclusion - are being met. The
project did not specifically identify any specific groups or parts of the Canberra community that
were experiencing high levels of social exclusion. Canberra was generally praised in fact for the
level of social amenities available to ensure that people could participate in the community.


Within this relatively positive overall context, there are a range of possible options that could
be explored to further foster a sense of community and to minimise social exclusion. These
include:




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   Ensuring public amenity is maintained at the perceived existing high standard, including
    ongoing maintenance of public areas and spaces where the community can enjoy activities
    – either formal or informal - together.    Options should be further examined to foster a
    greater sense of custodianship of Canberra’s environment by the people of Canberra
    themselves, the vast majority of who take pride in the city and feel a direct personal stake
    in its appearance and amenity.


   Ensuring those most reliant on public transport are consulted and considered in issues of
    timetable and route design, as a means of reducing any division in opportunities for social
    interaction between those with a car and those without a car. The provision of additional or
    special services where required to allow maximum opportunity for bus reliant residents to
    participate in major sporting, cultural or special interest events should also be continued.


   Reviewing the communication channels currently used in the promotion of services and
    events on offer to Canberrans may assist in building greater awareness of the full range of
    events and activities on offer.   Preferred channels vary depending on life-stage, but in
    general there is a perception that major events need to be aimed at residents, not simply
    at tourists.


   ‘Welcome Kits’ such as those already available at the Motor Registry and other key contact
    points could be expanded and distributed more widely at public events and spaces such as
    libraries or Migrant Resource Centres, and even through major employers (such as federal
    government agencies) who draw employees from around Australia to Canberra for work
    purposes (apart from those recruited through graduate channels, who appear to be better
    catered for).


   There was clear demand for further entertainment precincts to be developed, particularly in
    lake front areas. While developments such as the Kingston foreshore are welcomed, some
    also expressed a degree of frustration that such developments have been a long time
    coming, and that further initiatives in this regard should ideally be explored with a degree
    of priority.


   Initiatives already in place to support community events or special interest group
    development should be more heavily promoted to boost awareness of them, and
    participation in them.


   The large majority of events or services people asked for as a way of further developing
    feelings of community and belonging in Canberra already exist - the challenge is helping
    those who haven’t yet discovered the ‘hidden treasures’ of Canberra find their way. Further
    brokerage roles should be explored to showcase the full range of opportunities for
    Canberrans to interact with fellow residents.




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                                                                                                      2
                                                         This section outlines the background
                                                              to the project, and specifies the
                                                                           research objectives




RESEARCH CONTEXT


2.1 Background

As part of its research into problems associated with social exclusion, the ACT Community
Inclusion Board (the Board) sought to undertake research on the experience of social inclusion
and quality of living in Canberra’s suburbs, inner city and town areas.


Canberra Social Plan

‘Building Our Community - The Canberra Social Plan’ was launched in February 2004 by the
ACT Chief Minister with the aim of developing a city in which all people can reach their
potential, contribute and share in the benefits of the community2.             The establishment of the
ACT Community Inclusion Board was part of the first stage in the effective implementation of
the Canberra Social Plan. The Board’s terms of reference are to provide high-level community
advice to the Government on social priorities and to develop strategies for dealing with the
causes of social exclusion.          There is concern that although Canberra is a healthy and
prosperous city, some members of the community do not benefit from social inclusion 3. Social
inclusion describes the state in which members of a community are able to participate in
employment, are not discriminated against, are less likely to participate in criminal activities,




2
    Building our community – the Canberra social plan, ACT Chief Minister’s Department, Canberra 2004.
3
    p.4, Building our community – the Canberra social plan, ACT Chief Minister’s Department, Canberra 2004.



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and are able to obtain skills and education, adequate housing, health care and stable family
relationships.


Social Inclusion and Economic Opportunity

The establishment of the ACT Community Inclusion Fund (administered by the Board) comes
under Social Plan Action 1.1 of Priority 1: Economic Opportunities for all Canberrans, in the
Canberra Social Plan.        As outlined under Priority 1, economic participation and access to
economic opportunities for all are central to the social objectives of the plan. Participation in
employment is a vehicle for social engagement, and as a source of income, it allows material
wellbeing and the ability to contribute to the community. Social participation is closely linked
to economic participation– economic well-being allows greater involvement in the community,
and improved social well-being appears to influence economic well-being, through social
support, networks and educational opportunities.              Conversely, those in the community who
experience social exclusion may also experience economic exclusion – poverty, unemployment
and inadequate housing. The two factors act together to create a downward spiral of poverty
and further social exclusion.


Social Inclusion Factors

Consequently, both economic and social inclusion are important factors in preventing poverty
and increasing opportunities for members of the community, however the factors involved in
social    inclusion   are   less   well   understood   than    economic   inclusion   factors.       Greater
understanding of social inclusion issues are a necessary priority for the ACT Community
Inclusion Board.       For this reason the Board must be well informed about the factors that
contribute to social inclusion in Canberra.            These factors may be social, economic or
environmental, and may include elements such as social networks, religious groups, income
levels or geographical location in Canberra. The Board is especially interested in understanding
how a sense of belonging to one’s city, region, suburb or neighbourhood interacts with social
inclusion.


Location

Canberra’s geographical structure has created a dispersed and spacious city environment with a
low population density that can make it harder for residents to meet and interact. The lack of
opportunities to engage with fellow citizens and community members are seen to contribute to
feelings of isolation for many city residents4.        Without purposefully seeking opportunities to
engage with others, such as through sporting pursuits, church groups, formal and informal




4
    p.9, Findings of the Community Inclusion Board’s Open Public Forum, Held August 22 and 24, 2005



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social activities, adult education or artistic activities, Canberra’s residents appear to live
autonomous lives in self-sufficient houses, removed from local communities.            Perhaps this
situation could be the ‘default’ situation for the majority of Canberra residents who do not
actively pursue social engagement activities.       Geographical isolation may be much more
pronounced for residents of outer suburbs than for inner city residents in Canberra.


Mobility and Neighbourhoods

Another factor that may contribute to a lack of engagement in social participation is the mobile
nature of the population of most suburbs of Canberra.        This issue could affect long term
residents who observe the transient nature of fellow residents in a suburb, and those
Canberrans who move frequently between regions. The issue may be an important factor in
feelings of belonging to a particular neighbourhood. Contact with neighbours and street life of
Canberra’s suburbs and inner city and town areas is also poorly understood, though most
residents are aware of the lack of an active street life in the majority of Canberra’s suburban
districts.   There are concerns that weaknesses such as this in certain neighbourhoods in
Canberra may discourage social inclusion.       On the other hand, Canberra’s spacious suburbs
offer many community facilities such as shops, playgrounds, sporting facilities, libraries and
schools, and some neighbourhoods may gain strength from these facilities. Examining the lives
of people in the context of their neighbourhoods and ‘local territory’, and how they feel about
their local area, is crucial to understanding the strengths and weaknesses of particular
neighbourhoods.


Need for Research

Research was required to gain greater understanding of how feelings of connectedness to
Canberra suburbs relates to social inclusion, and also what factors contribute to greater social
inclusion. The research aimed to gather information from Canberra residents about the level of
emotional connection they have to their neighbourhoods, suburbs and city and their levels of
social participation in various groups and locations.



2.2 Research objectives

Overall, the aim of this project was to gain greater understanding of what factors contribute to
greater social inclusion (social, economic or environmental) for Canberra residents.


The main objectives of this research were to:


        Assess how Canberrans feel about their neighbourhoods and the experience of living in
         the suburbs/inner city and town areas of Canberra




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       Illuminate the strengths and weaknesses of neighbourhoods that seem to encourage or
        discourage social inclusion


       Identify causes of community exclusion


Additionally, the Board was interested in information from respondents about:


       Life of their streets and neighbourhoods


       Contact with neighbours


       Participation in local formal and informal social activities


       Participation in community-based activities of any kind, such as sport, adult education,
        specialist interests, cultural groups, creative arts, etc…


       Issues arising from the mobility of the population.


The research program undertaken to meet the research objectives and explore these issues of
interest is outlined in the following section.




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                                                                                           3
                                                     This section provides details of the
                                                                  research methodology




RESEARCH DESIGN


3.1 Qualitative methodology

Eureka agreed with the Board that a purely qualitative methodology was the most suitable
approach for this project.   Qualitative research is exploratory, allowing for a detailed and
flexible examination of the ways in which people’s lives intersect with each other to create
networks and communities.     Qualitative research does not permit researchers to generalise
from a sample to the population at large. Our aim, however, was not be to deliver high-level
generalisations so much as to uncover diversity and particularity.


There already exists a wealth of population statistics.    We can speak of Canberra and its
suburbs in terms of employment, incomes, household types, educational levels, languages
spoken, and so on – this view of it can be thought of as a detailed high-altitude aerial
photograph. What is missing is the picture seen from the ground: the view from the living-
room window, the street corner, the local shop, church or school. Qualitative research allowed
us to explore local detail, to examine the city from the inside and discover some of the many
“cities within”.


To capture this information, Eureka conducted ten affinity group discussions and ten personal
interviews as follows.




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3.2 Affinity group discussions

Non-directive affinity group discussions were conducted in ‘natural habitats’ (both domestic and
communal spaces) spread across Canberra’s diverse geographic areas, with groups of
individuals who know each other through ‘private’ and ‘public’ social networks.                  Participants
were to be invited to complete a ‘social diary’ in the week leading up to the discussion, to
document their social interaction, thoughts and feelings about the social environment in which
they live.

                                                          5
Affinity group discussions - Sample structure

                                          Private friendship                   Formalised social
             Location
                                              networks                            networks
Gungahlin                                  1 group (18-24yrs)
Belconnen – Outer                          1 group (40-59yrs)
Belconnen – Inner                                                                1 group (40-59yrs)
Inner north                                                                      1 group (25-39yrs)
City                                       1 group (18-24yrs)                    1 group (25-39yrs)
Inner south                                1 group (25-39yrs)
Tuggeranong                                  1 group (60+)
Woden                                                                            1 group (18-24yrs)
Tuggeranong                                                                        1 group (60+)


The formalised social networks we accessed for these discussions included:

        a tennis club;
        a youth centre;
        a toastmasters group;
        a Migrant Resource Centre support group; and
        a YWCA Seniors ‘drop-in’ group.



3.3 Personal interviews

Face-to-face interviews were conducted in a diverse range of locations across Canberra with
individuals who said they disagreed with the following two statements:


        Canberra is a city with a strong sense of community and belonging; and


        You personally have a feeling of belonging to, or being part of, a broader community.




5
 Final sample structure of the group discussions varied slightly from that outlined in the original proposal.
This was due to some recruitment difficulties, but also to ensure representation of key social groups (such
as the Migrant Resource Centre).



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The scope of the depth interviews was not to identify those who are clearly socially excluded
from the Canberra community for whatever reason, but rather to learn from those who felt a
sense of community and belonging was lacking to at least some degree.              Interviews were
conducted in an environment chosen by participants, whether it be their home, office or other
familiar location.


Personal Interviews - sample structure

                                                                       Length of time in
          Location                      Demographic
                                                                          Canberra
Gungahlin                                Female 25-39                Between 6 months-2 yrs
Amaroo                                   Female 18-24                Between 6 months–2 yrs
Emu Ridge (Belconnen)                     Male 25-39                      Over 2 years
O’Connor                                  Male 40-59                      Over 2 years
City                                      Male 25-39                       4 months
Barton                                     Male 60 +                      Over 2 years
Narrabundah                               Female 60+                      Over 2 years
Weston                                   Female 40-59                     Over 2 years
Chifley                                  Female 40-59                     Over 2 years
Tuggeranong                               Male 18-24                      Over 2 years



3.4 Recruitment of research participants

Participants for affinity group discussions were recruited in two ways. Groups including people
in ‘private friendship networks’ were recruited by a professional recruiter from either existing
publicly available lists (such as electronic white pages) or from the recruitment agencies’ pre-
existing registers, depending on the unique specifications of each target group (socio-economic
status, age, gender etc.). The recruitment process ensured that participants:


       do not or have not had direct input to the Community Inclusion Board, and do not work
        for the Chief Minister’s Department;


       do not work in advertising, media or marketing; and


       have not participated in a qualitative research for the last six months.


The study was introduced to potential participants as an opportunity for them to share their
experiences of living in Canberra and its suburbs, with their feedback important in the
development of appropriate public services and amenities for the Canberra community.                To
address any potential bias we excluded employees from the Chief Minister’s Department from
the study, as well as those who had made direct representations to the Board on social
inclusion/exclusion issues.


Groups including people in ‘formalised social networks’ were recruited by Eureka consultants,
who contacted appropriate social organisations directly.




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All fieldwork was conducted between 19th September and 13th October 2006.          Copies of the
affinity group discussion guide and the personal interview guide are attached as Appendices A
and B. A copy of the social diary participants were invited to complete in included as Appendix
C.




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                                                                                                 4
                                                This section reports the findings from
                                                    the affinity group discussions and
                                                            personal depth interviews




RESEARCH FINDINGS

4.1 Feelings of Community at the Canberra-wide level

Overall, people had many positive things to say about the experience of living in Canberra,
although generally these views strengthened with both time spent as a resident and also with
the age of research participant.


Longer term residents noted that their view of Canberra had changed from being a
predominantly transient population, or at least a place where people had been drawn to purely
for employment purposes, to one where deep roots and social linkages had been developed.
The fact that so many longer term residents had originally moved here for work purposes –
often leaving behind family and friendship networks in their home cities or towns – was noted
as something that had forced people to develop new networks and had fostered (at least to
some degree) a ‘pioneering’ spirit. However, there were clear signs that the city has matured
to a point where residents – both longer term and newer arrivals – view Canberra as a
desirable place to live in and of itself, rather than simply being a place where you live for a
short period of time before moving on.



       “When we first moved here 35 years ago there was a sense that we needed to
       support each other because everyone was pretty much in the same boat – no
       family and no ready made friendship networks. Now that at least a generation
       has passed, I think that younger people born here will have readily formed social
       networks of their own through school, sport and whatever” Female, 40 – 59
       Group, Belconnen.




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       ‘I used to visit all the time and think, ‘It’s a nice place to visit,’ but I could never
       think I’d live here. But now that I’m here, like any city, once you get to know
       people, places to go that tourists don’t see, you sort of take to it a bit more, I
       guess’. Male, 25-39, City.


Both longer term residents and newer residents alike lauded the lifestyle on offer in Canberra,
from the clean environment through to the lack of traffic congestion and the many recreational
spaces on offer. While the city was not perceived to offer the range of activities available in
major capital cities such as Sydney or Melbourne, most felt that there was plenty on offer and
that Canberra’s physical location meant that what Canberra lacked was generally within
relatively easy reach.



       “You can get to the beach in an hour, hour and a half, and Sydney’s a couple of
       hours away, or you can fly to Melbourne in an hour, so it’s actually a really good
       location. You’ve got the snow right there if you want to go skiing. So
       geographical location is great, yeah, for sure.” Male, 25 - 39, City.


       “I think there is a lot to do, and a lot of it I guess, for me to be able to walk out
       into nature is a big thing, to be close to the city and be able to get away from it
       as well. It’s close to the coast, which is fantastic. It’s close to Sydney, if you
       want to go for a weekend, you can.” Female, 25 – 39, Gungahlin.


       “Oh I think it’s terrific, it’s great. The clean environment, the accessibility
       around the city, the accessibility to the coast or to the mountains, it provides
       education, cultural and employment opportunities that I am interested in,
       there’s a very low unemployment rate.” Male, 40 – 59, O’Connor.


Public events and celebrations, along with more casual interactions were seen as key in
developing a sense of community. Big annual events such as Floriade, the Canberra Festival
and the Multicultural Festival were lauded for their quality, but there was a call for more
frequent, smaller events throughout the year to get people out of their homes and suburbs
(although the cold climate in Canberra was certainly recognised as a barrier to this in the
winter months). There was also a desire for events targeted specifically at Canberrans, rather
than tourists.   Government initiatives such as “Party in the Park” were seen as examples of
this, although these events tended to attract a particular demographic only (namely parents
with younger children).



       “I guess sometimes you might want a city with more of a centre, more of a
       meeting place. But Canberra does have that every once in a while.…A little
       while ago we went to this big multicultural food fair in Civic and that was just
       packed. It was fantastic, every street was filled and there was a pedestrianised
       centre, of shops, filled with people.    And that was good, like a carnival
       atmosphere. Canberra does have cultural events, but maybe not so many.”
       Female, 25 – 39, City.




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       “They’ve got the international food festival. People really get into it I think, but
       then for the rest of the year, there’s nothing like that around” Male, 18-25,
       Belconnen


Younger research participants (those in the 18 – 30 age group) were less positive about
Canberra, feeling there was generally less on offer from a social interaction perspective that
was directly relevant to them.        A number of participants in their mid to late 20’s who had
grown up in Canberra reported moving to and living in larger metropolitan cities – either in
Australia or overseas – before returning to Canberra for family and lifestyle reasons, often
including plans to buy a house and have children.


Canberra seen as ideal for young families

Across demographic groups, there was a strong sense that Canberra is a great place for young
families. House affordability (although seen as diminishing in recent times), clean streets, good
amenities (schools, parks, walking trails, bike paths, shops, and hospitals all mentioned) and
high incomes were among the key factors that contributed to Canberra being perceived as such
a great place for young families.



       “I think it’s a good place to bring up children, for sure. My brother’s living in
       Rozelle (in Sydney) in this house they paid about $600,000 for, and there was
       no backyard. My mum was like, ‘That’s not a good place to bring up children – it
       should be somewhere like Canberra.’ Schools and everything – it’s just got
       really good facilities. And that may come from being planned and everything, I
       suppose.” Male, 25 – 39, City.


       “One of the reasons why we picked where we picked was the fact that our kids…
       and this is only across Canberra, it doesn’t happen anywhere else that I’m aware
       of… your kid can leave home and with minimal walk along a road can be at
       school. From here, our kids can walk to school, they didn’t have to walk on a
       roadway.” 60+ group, Tuggeranong.


For those with experience of living elsewhere (particularly major metropolitan areas such as
Sydney or Melbourne), Canberra was also seen as quite a safe place to live. This sentiment
was often expressed along the lines of “Canberra has the all the benefits of a larger city, but
still maintains a small town feel”.



       “Having grown up in country Victoria and then living for a period of time in
       Melbourne, I’ve probably experienced the two ends of the spectrum. Growing
       up in a small town everyone knew everyone else’s business pretty much – to the
       point where it was a bit suffocating, which is one of the reasons I moved to
       Melbourne.     In Melbourne, there are so many people that you can live
       anonymously and just go about your business. I feel that Canberra probably is
       the best of both worlds – it’s large enough to offer some anonymity, but small
       enough that you feel a bit more personal involvement with your local
       community.” Female, 40 – 59, Weston.



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Geography of the city seen as both positive and negative

In terms of city design, the relatively low density and geographic dispersion of town centres
stemming from Canberra’s satellite city design was viewed as a double edged sword in terms of
facilitating a sense of community at the city-wide level. While many noted this was a unique
and valued feature of Canberra as the ‘bush capital’, there was almost universal agreement
that this does make the city quite car reliant. The lack of congestion means those with cars
can get around quite easily, however those without cars must rely on the bus network or taxis.
While peak time day services in and out of the major town centres were deemed reliable and
efficient, transport out of peak periods, across town and in the evening was seen as
problematic.


The lack of late night services was particularly raised by the younger participants, who added
that the expense of taxis was a major limitation on their opportunities to socialise more
frequently. As a result, cross-town socialising was impeded for some and, along with that, the
opportunity to mix with people outside their local area.



       “One of the problems in Canberra if you don’t drive, you’re fairly isolated. If you
       want to go to a social function, then you either have to depend on somebody or
       go on a taxi [which is expensive]. It’s fairly isolating.” Female, 40-59, Chifley.


Those solely reliant of public transport options were thus considered by the majority of
participants (who owned cars) as being at greater risk of being limited in what activities they
can participate in, and, at the farthermost end of the spectrum, a degree of social exclusion.



        “Lack of buses in daytime when it’s not peak hour. It’s hard to catch a bus – if
       you miss your bus then that’s it; you kinda wait for an hour, then there’s
       another one” Female 18-24, Amaroo


       “If you wanted to take the night out and go for a drink, then if you don’t have a
       designated driver, you’ve got to get a taxi. That’s a ridiculous price to pay, no
       matter where you are… Taxis are certainly not the cheapest mode of transport
       around here, and one of the most unreliable. Once again, tie that in with no
       public transport after certain times. If we went to Civic, we’d be lucky to be able
       to get a bus back around 10 at night.” 60+ Tuggeranong group


Balancing this point, however, was the commonly expressed view that generally each town
centre is self sufficient. Especially for those who worked in the same town centre they live in,
there was generally no need to interact with Canberrans outside their immediate geographic
area. The satellite centres were also seen as limiting the chance for a social “critical mass” to
develop in each of the respective town centres which might spawn greater opportunities to
interact with others (such as a more vibrant cafe or pub culture or even street festivals). One
participant noted that the development of the town centre in Gungahlin – with its “main street”



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development approach rather than a bigger shopping mall – could serve to generate a greater
sense of community.



        ‘One thing I don’t like about Canberra is the fact that in the town centre, with
       the exception of Gungahlin now, it’s just a mall. I find that really, just – there’s
       no community sense there. It’s just a mall and the rest of it is – I mean, there
       are offices and things around, but I like streets. I like the way Gungahlin now
       has a main street, and they’ve purposely designed it that way. We go out there
       to do grocery shopping from Braddon, even though there are other closer
       supermarkets, and it’s just nice, and you can park at the door.” Male, 25 – 39,
       City.


In terms of ‘social mobility’ – the opportunity to form social networks outside of a resident’s
immediate neighbourhood or town centre – most participants said the general ease with which
a person can get around the city (for those with cars at least) meant that they felt they could
engage in activities across the breadth of the city.    Analysis of the social diaries that each
group participant was asked to complete in the seven days leading up to their group discussion
also showed that social interaction was generally not constrained to each participant’s
immediate neighbourhoods or town centres, and that most participants recorded social
interaction spanning Canberra in the week leading up to their group. Maps of each participant’s
movements leading up to the group are included at Appendix D, with each colour representing
the movement of one group participant over the seven days leading up to the group discussion.


The low population density of Canberra also meant for many, particularly newer residents to
Canberra, that the city lacks hubs for relaxation and enjoyment. Many residents expressed a
desire for there to be more ‘destination centres’ for them to go to, to enjoy a coffee, music or
shopping amongst a crowd. While there was acknowledgement that there were initiatives in
the pipeline to address this, namely investment in the Civic and Kingston foreshore areas, there
was clearly a desire for Canberra to continue to develop these sorts of areas.



       “I guess increasing meeting places in centres could be the way (to increase a
       sense of community). Communal places or places that were open later that
       weren’t necessarily clubs or bars. To encourage people to go out into the nice
       evening.” Female, 25 -39, Gungahlin.


       “Canberra can be a lonely place and I think it can be because it’s such a spread
       out place. Sometimes you don’t even know what’s going on.” Female, 40-59
       Chifley.


These centres were especially desired by people who did not have well established networks
within Canberra – places where they could go and simply engage in ‘people watching’ and feel
part of the social milieu.   New residents and migrants in particular were keen for more




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opportunities to mix with other Canberrans, in the hope of meeting more people, making
friends or even just to have a destination to get them out of the house and interacting.


Work provides key social interaction opportunities

The role of work emerged as a clear foundation for many social networks, which in turn
highlighted the more limited opportunities of those not engaged in paid work to build social
networks. The majority of the informal affinity groups included people who had got to know
each other through work, from working in large government agencies through to seasonal work
to even the local McDonalds.



        “We’ve all been doing seasonal work for this organisation for several years now.
        The work itself is actually quite uninteresting and mind-numbing, but it’s only for
        a couple of weeks at a time maybe three or four time per year – and we all
        really enjoy catching up with each other!” Female, 40 – 59, Belconnen.


        “I work from home three days a week. It’s great that my employer offers that
        flexibility, but at the same time I feel I need to cram a week’s worth of
        socialising into my two days at work. It does make me think twice about how
        my working arrangements limit my social interactions.” Male, 25 – 39, Weston
        Creek.


Some participants suggested that those working in private businesses may not have access to
the social interaction opportunities provided by large federal government agencies.             These
participants also suggested that they had seen evidence of a slight white collar/blue collar or
public sector/private sector divide within Canberra. Some participants commented that a lot of
Canberrans are quite well-off, secure within the ‘public service club’, and can be quite detached
and unconcerned with the plight of those less fortunate than themselves.



        “I think you’ll find now that there’s a lot of money in Canberra. People are well-
        paid and they have big houses and a lot of space. So I think in a lot of ways
        having your own little island with your many possessions and your family
        discourages you from getting out and meeting other people. A lot of space –
        you probably don’t even know your neighbour. So yeah I’d say it dissuades
        people from getting together because we are stuck in their communities,
        whether you live up in Red Hill or Kingston, or down in Charnwood, it’s almost
        like two different cities, really.” Female, 25 – 29, Gungahlin.


The reliance on cars as the primary mode of transport in Canberra, combined with a generally
low unemployment rate were noted by some participants as one of the key reasons there is
perhaps less of a sense of community than in other cities or towns that have a more prominent
street life.




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       “One aspect that makes it a little difficult (to foster greater sense of community
       in the suburbs) is that there’s a high work participation and everybody drives a
       car so people are away from their houses most of the time and therefore don’t
       necessarily connect with the neighbours” Male, 40- 59, O’Connor.



4.2 Differences in perception of community & belonging by life
stage

Younger Canberra residents

Younger Canberra residents were generally the least positive in terms of their view of Canberra
as a whole.    There was generally perceived to be a lack of things to do, which some
participants felt could lead to a degree of anti-social behaviour (under age drinking, drug abuse
and petty crime), especially among those from a lower socio-economic background. For these
residents, local community and youth centres were seen as an important place, offering free
(or very cheap) organised activities that gave young people a sense of support and belonging.



       “I met nearly all of my friends through the Woden Youth Centre – it’s a place
       that has allowed me to get to really know and trust people” Female, 18 – 24,
       Woden.


Younger residents also felt that while there were a number of major events on offer (such as
the Canberra Festival, the Multicultural Festival, Floriade and Summernats) there were few
major events that catered directly for their age group. When questioned on what activities or
events could be put on to better cater for their tastes, suggestions such as music festivals or
concerts by major international acts were put forward as something that would draw the young
people of Canberra together and provide greater opportunities for social interaction.



       “I feel there’s a bit of wowser element in Canberra that tends to dominate what
       kind of things are put on for people. Older people might be happy to go to the
       National Gallery, the War Memorial and stuff like that – and I enjoy those places
       as well – but for younger people I think more could be done. You can always go
       to Sydney I suppose to see a major band or something but that gets
       expensive…I’d like to see more happening here in Canberra” Male, 25 – 39,
       Inner South.


On reflection however, most young people noted that if a greater expanse of entertainment
options were on the top of a young person’s agenda, they would probably make the move to a
larger metropolitan city anyway.    There was a sense that, while there was scope for more
activities for young people, younger Canberrans made do with the socialising opportunities
available. This ranged from meeting friends at the pub or club for a drink, through to hosting
BBQs or parties at various people’s homes. As with any city, it was noted this is far easier to
do if you have grown up in Canberra and have an existing network of friends through school,




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University/TAFE or other activities.   Younger residents who had moved to Canberra more
recently had generally formed social networks through their workplace.



       “I’m originally from Junee, and didn’t know anyone when I moved to Canberra.
       But I made friends with one a guy at work, and through meeting his friends my
       group of mates just grew from there” Male, 25 – 39, Inner South.


While the research project captured few young parents directly (quite possibly because they
were busy managing family commitments), as mentioned above Canberra was seen to cater to
this demographic segment very well.      While the issue of school closures did emerge among
some groups, overall there was still a sense that Canberra as a whole offered very good
education facilities. When this was viewed alongside the clean environment of Canberra, the
relative safety of the city (especially compared to major metropolitan centres) and the
extensive recreational facilities on offer (such as ovals, parks, great walking and bike paths),
there was almost universal agreement that Canberra is a great place for young families.
However, stay at home parents – and single parents in particular – were nominated as being at
greater risk of social exclusion than other groups. The social brokerage role government plays
through maternity health services, and the provision of social interaction through mother’s
groups and initiatives (such as ‘Paint and Play’ at neighbourhood playgrounds), was perceived
as important in reducing such exclusion.


For older parents, there was a cycle that emerged in terms of the breadth of social networks
that was linked to the age of their children. Respondents in the 40 – 60 year age category
generally recalled their social networks being more expansive when their children were
younger, particularly at the time they were involved in mothers’ groups, child care related
activities and primary schools.



       “I was pretty heavily involved with committees when my daughter was at
       primary school” Female, 40 – 59, Weston.


       “I think there were a lot more stay at home mums when my kids were at school.
       That certainly helped in terms of organising and running the local school fete
       and other social activities….given so many mothers are having to work these
       days they probably struggle a lot more to find mothers who have the time to be
       involved” Female, 40 – 59, Inner Belconnen.


As their children graduated to high school and beyond, there were generally perceived to be
fewer opportunities that allowed active parental participation and these social connections
tended to wane to some extent. Approaching retirement however, many of these people were
looking forward to reconnecting with old acquaintances through recreational pursuits or
volunteer activities in their neighbourhood area.




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Looking forward, the majority of participants in this age bracket said that they would miss their
social network greatly if they moved away, but some did have plans to do so for retirement
purposes (mainly for lifestyle reasons, primarily a more temperate climate).         When this was
raised, the majority of respondents said it would be difficult to find another location that offered
health and general support facilities like those offered in Canberra.



       Everyone around Canberra does seem to retire and go down the coast and I
       question the reason for that. They seem to think that if they’re by the ocean
       they’re all of a sudden going to be healthy and be twenty years younger. In
       reality, when someone gets to the age of retirement, they tend to be on the
       older side. Therefore they tend to want or need the use of doctors’ facilities.
       They just don’t have that in most of the coastal communities. So good thing on
       holidays… but if you’ve really got a problem, perhaps you’ve got to sit back and
       have a look at where all your health facilities and other things are.” 60+ group,
       Tuggeranong.


Most respondents in this age bracket expressed a desire for government services to be targeted
more at assisting them maintain their independence into the future through the provision of in-
home health services and support, than in providing greater retirement home places or other
forms of centralised care.   This was seen as an important factor in maintaining their social
networks.


Older Canberra residents (65 and over) reported enjoying full and active social lives.            They
reported a strong sense of community, largely built around the support they provide one
another. In saying this, they noted that those with impaired mobility were at risk of greater
social exclusion, along with those who had lost their partner. They noted that a pick-up and
drop-off service operated through the local community centre – where for $2 they could
arrange someone to pick them up, drive them to an appointment and then drive them home
again – was a key support that was warmly appreciated. In terms of mobility, most noted they
would only generally travel during the day time for safety reasons. Those who had given up
driving altogether occasionally had to rely on relatives to assist them in order to do the things
they wanted to do.



       “I’d arranged to go on a trip to Newcastle via train, which was leaving the
       Kingston depot at 6.30am. There was no way I could get a bus there from
       Tuggeranong at that time, so in the end I had to stay the night at my daughter’s
       place in Scullin the night before and get my son-in-law to drive me to the station
       that morning” Female, Seniors Group, Tuggeranong.



4.3 Newer Canberra residents

Those who were recent arrivals to Canberra agreed that the city was a friendly place overall,
but expressed a view that it can be difficult to break into existing social networks. The nod and




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smile from your fellow walkers are appreciated - and for many who come to Canberra from
bigger metropolitan centres a pleasant surprise - but establishing friendships is much more
problematic. While this is an issue for anyone moving to a new town, in Canberra it seems
there are particular barriers.   The self-containment of many Canberrans – they drive to and
from work, socialise mainly at home or with close friends - is seen as a contributing factor to
the isolation some members of the community feel. There is the feeling that to develop these
friendships in Canberra you need to rely more heavily on participation in formal activities, than
relying on casual, social interactions.



       “In Sydney or Melbourne you can generally walk into a pub and strike up a
       conversation with a stranger and it’s no big deal. Try striking up a conversation
       with someone at a pub or bar here in Canberra and you’ll get some funny looks”
       Male, 25 – 39, Weston Creek.


        “Well I think when you first come you don’t really feel all that welcome, unless
       you belong to like a church group, then that makes a big difference’ Woman,
       60+ Red Hill


       “I don’t have many opportunities to meet foreigners and have social interaction
       with them, there is the Chinese community we can join them and do lots of
       activities but to (just) meet a lot of Chinese people is not good, because then we
       can’t join the Canberra, it makes me feel I do not belong to here” Migrant
       Resource Centre Support Group, Civic


For some, seeking friendships through work provided such an opportunity, although others
(e.g., those from a Defence background) noted that their social networks were quite insular
and only related to their work lives. Some commented that given they were only likely to be in
Canberra for a fixed term (such as their term of service for defence personnel or for the term of
a contract in other employment situations) there was little motivation for them to seek out
social networks in Canberra.



       “There’s a transitory nature of a lot of the population – people coming and going
       with a lot of the military and diplomatic roles and the politicians are always in
       and out. That section doesn’t have much commitment or loyalty to the place
       necessarily because they are temporary. I generally think the people that live
       here for a length of time are fairly committed.” Male, 40 – 59, Inner North


       “I’m actually at Duntroon, and the only reason I know these people is because I
       met them through my girlfriend. While we do a few things that try and build
       good relations between the services and the Canberra public like Beating the
       Retreat, at a personal level I certainly wasn’t encouraged to get to know people
       in Canberra, probably because both they and I know that at the end of my
       course I’ll be posted somewhere else” Male, 18 – 24, Gungahlin.




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Other newer Canberra residents noted that there were ample opportunities to form new social
networks, but that it was dependent on the individual to find the time and motivation to involve
themselves in such social pursuits.    A general comment was that it was important for these
new arrivals to Canberra to be able to find out what is on offer socially, and to be encouraged
to participate on arrival.



        “It doesn’t matter what city you go to, if you want to meet friends you’ve got to
        apply yourself to do that. If you play tennis, go and play tennis and meet
        people that way, I mean I don’t think it’s healthy just to hang out with or know
        people that you work with. I think really you should have a life outside of work
        as well so I don’t think Canberra’s any different than any other city in terms of
        achieving that.” Male, 25 – 39, City.


        “It’s a personal choice. If you don’t want to be sociable, or you’re not of the
        make-up to be sociable…you tend to be lonely and you’ll come to the conclusion
        that it’s a very hard city to break into.” 60+ Tuggeranong Group.



4.4 Cultural diversity seen as a key strength

The ethnic diversity of Canberra was seen as a great positive, and participants felt there was
little evidence of discrimination or social exclusion based upon ethnicity. There was in fact a
sense of pride that Canberrans were well educated and travelled and therefore less likely to be
discriminatory. The fact that many foreign embassies are based in Canberra (as the national
capital) was also viewed as a key factor in fostering cultural diversity and acceptance.



        “As far as ethnic issues, yes there’s a lot of clubs that are ethnic-based, but it’s
        not an ethnic society where you have isolation. You have in Canberra probably
        one of the widest mix of people that you could ever have.” 60+ Tuggeranong
        Group.


        “I think it is because it is generally multicultural because of the nature of it: the
        international focus and diplomatic people and the historically relatively new
        focus of it. I think in terms of other ethnic groups I think it’s quite inclusive.”
        Male, 40 – 59, Inner North.


The cultural mix of Canberra was identified as one of the city’s benefits, and it was felt there
are opportunities to exploit this through more celebrations of Canberra’s cultural heritage.
However, while the existence of strong sub-communities (e.g.                  Chinese or Russian
communities) within Canberra provides a level of support for new migrants, it was also seen as
an impediment to these people integrating more fully into Canberran society.           A number of
recent migrants felt they lacked opportunities to interact with ‘real Aussies’ and that restricting
their social networks to these sub-communities impeded their sense of belonging to Canberra.




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4.5 Life in Canberra’s neighbourhoods & streets

There was great variability in terms of the degree to which respondents expressed a sense of
community or belonging within their direct neighbourhoods. Those that felt there was a lack of
community said this was because they had little in common with their neighbours, and certainly
areas that attached similar demographics tended to report a stronger sense of community and
belonging.



        “Most of the neighbours around here have lived in the street for many years.
        We’re good friends with some of them, less so with others, but overall there is a
        sense of mutual respect and a shared sense of place just because we’ve all been
        here so long,” Female, 40 – 59, Outer Belconnen.


Others claimed that while they enjoyed a cordial relationship with their neighbours, this
extended to a smile and a wave if they saw each other in the street rather than any additional
social contact.   At the most positive end of the spectrum, some reported being in frequent
contact with neighbours, including having them over for a BBQ or dinner, and also communal
street parties that happen once or twice a year. For some, developing a good relationship with
neighbours was attributed largely to ‘good luck’ and ending up in a neighbourhood with
community-minded people. Others suggested good neighbourhoods developed as a result of
residents taking the time and effort to ‘put themselves out there’ and actively working to forge
closer ties.   Having an older/retired person or couple living in a neighbourhood – who spent
most of their time there and could therefore “keep an eye on things” during the day – was a
common element amongst those who reported more positive neighbourhood relationships.



        “We live in a close and there’s an old lady who lives on a block near the
        entrance to the street. I didn’t really give her much thought until she knocked
        on our door one day – my car had been vandalised the day before and she
        remembered some details regarding the type of cars that were in the street that
        day” Male, 18 – 24, Woden.


As with Canberra as a whole, there were also differences in opinion about the sense of
community in various neighbourhoods.         Younger Canberrans often felt their immediate
neighbourhood lacked any ‘vibe’ or excitement. While some older residents were content with
a hit of social tennis and perhaps a BBQ at their local tennis club, younger residents were
generally forced to search wider for entertainment options such as restaurants, cafes and bars.


The vast majority of participants were quite content with the locations they lived in, either
through familiarity (having lived there a reasonable length of time) or because they had
specifically moved there to make use of the amenities on offer.      While some suburbs were
readily recognised as being the ‘most desirable’ suburbs to live in if finances were not a
constraint – Red Hill, Yarralumla, O’Malley etc. – there was generally a perception that even if



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they were able to move there this would not greatly improve their ability to either develop or
maintain existing social networks.


Overall, while some participants felt a sense of community in their immediate neighbourhoods
could be improved if there were more social hubs available (such as a local café or pub for
some, or recreational facilities for others), the general perception was that Canberra is small
enough (at least from a population perspective) that a sense of community and belonging is
probably best fostered at a city-wide level. Maintaining the perceived high standard of major
events, and looking to complement these with other events where possible, was viewed as a
key way of achieving this.


4.6 Participation in organised activities

Participation in group activities, whether they be sporting, religious, educational or social were
seen as being key in developing not only a sense of community, but a sense of belonging on an
individual level. Canberra was seen as offering a wealth of opportunities to get involved in such
groups, and all participants thought it was the responsibility of the individual, rather than the
government or anyone else, to take up these opportunities.


Recent ABS research has identified Canberrans as some of the most active and community
minded of all Australians with record levels of participation in both sporting and voluntary
pursuits, and this was certainly evidenced in this particular project.      A large majority of
participants dedicated some of their time to volunteering and this was widely endorsed as a
way of interacting with your community, as well as fostering a sense of community.



       “That’s one thing that Canberra does very well. It’s difficult for me to think of
       any part of the community that isn’t catered for in terms of volunteering
       activities in one form or another” Female, 40 – 59, Inner Belconnen.


A few participants expressed frustration that they had attempted to become involved in
volunteering, but had been unable to do so.


Most people are involved, or have been involved, in some kind of formally organised activity
through a club, group or society. Canberra is seen as ‘socially active’ in this sense. Sporting
clubs appeared particularly popular among most participants, from tennis and golf through to
mountaineering and motor sport.       Older participants were also involved with professional
groups, church, or cultural groups. These formally organised events were seen as a good way
to connect with people and to make friends, and had led to friendships beyond the
club/interest/society context, too.




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       “I’m an avid reader and so I joined a book club. Through that I met some nice
       people, and we’ll know catch up (outside the book club context) for a coffee or
       lunch which is good.” Female, 40 – 59, Weston Creek.


Life stage emerged as a key issue in terms of having the time to participate in formally
organised activities.   Younger participants tended to report very active social lives in an
informal context (meeting for drinks, going to friends’ homes for a meal etc.). On top of work
or study commitments, this left little time for anything else. Parents with older children noted
that as their children were becoming more independent this was freeing up more time for them
to get involved in additional activities. Seniors were generally the most active group in terms
of participation in organised activities, no doubt due to the time they have available to invest in
these pursuits.



       “We’ve all completed our social diaries, but were all so busy that most of us ran
       out of space to record all the things we’ve been doing!” Seniors Group,
       Tuggeranong.


Finally, a number of respondents said they had plans to engage in additional formal activities in
future, but didn’t particularly know where to begin in terms of finding out what was on offer
and who they should contact. Younger participants in particular felt they would like to know a
bit more about what’s on offer – ideally via a website.



       “I’ve tried finding out what’s on in Canberra at times – doing searches on the
       web and stuff – but I haven’t really found anything useful. Maybe if there was
       some website where you could find out what’s going on – and they promoted it
       so you knew where to look – it would be easier to find out what’s happening”
       Male, 18 – 24, Gungahlin.



4.7 People who disagreed that Canberra has a sense of
community

The scope of the study was not to identify those who were specifically socially excluded from
the broader Canberra community.       However, the depth interviews with those who disagreed
that Canberra has strong sense of community or belonging, and who also said they did not
personally have a feeling of belonging to the broader community, allowed some exploration as
to the views of those Canberrans who perhaps felt more can be done to foster greater social
inclusion.


Interestingly, none of the participants in the depth interviews conducted identified themselves
as being socially excluded to any degree, and most reported they were generally quite satisfied
with the social networks they had developed. Possibly the key area in which they differed was
their perceptions regarding the overall (or lack thereof) ‘friendliness’ of Canberra as a whole.



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There was generally a keener sense among these residents that it can be difficult to break into
existing social networks in Canberra, which manifested itself in the need to be formally
introduced to people rather than being able to strike up a conversation with a stranger at a
club, sporting event or other locations that could typically be expected to allow a large degree
of informality.


In saying this, there was also a sense to emerge from these respondents that their own
personality type and preferences for social activity – a smaller social network, and a common
preference to enjoy the company of their immediate family at home – was a strong contributing
factor to their overall views.   For the majority, there was no clear desire to actually change
their current social interaction levels.



4.8 Social exclusion in Canberra

The propensity of people to feel isolated in Canberra can be linked to key life stage and
demographic characteristics.     There seems to be certain sectors of the community that are
much less likely to experience exclusion (those working in some capacity, those with a car or
not reliant solely on public transport, and those engaging in formal activities) and those that
are at more risk (those not working, and those who must rely on public transport – particularly
those who live in outer lying suburbs). In saying this, most participants struggled to nominate
sectors of the Canberra community who they consider socially excluded through personal or
direct experience.   Rather, most respondents suggested sections of the community that are
probably equally at higher risk of social exclusion in any other parts of Australia – the elderly,
those with a disability, the mentally ill and those for whom English is a second language.


Established residents of Canberra, those that have lived here for anywhere between 5 and 50
years, who have good mobility and are economically secure are, not surprisingly, the most
satisfied with their lives in Canberra and are most positive about the sense of community within
the city. They exhibit high levels of participation in social, sporting and voluntary activities and
have strong personal support networks of friends and families.


Families with young children are also amongst those most positive about the sense of
community in Canberra. Opportunities to meet other parents through new parent meetings,
participation in Childcare or School activities, as well as neighbourhood common ground of
having children means this group are less at risk of feeling isolated.


Longer term residents recalled the existence of public housing concentrated in specific areas
and some of the social problems this had created in the past.            However, there was clear
recognition that the ACT government had generally moved away from this model and was now
providing public housing across a wide range of Canberra suburbs. This was generally seen as
a positive step in addressing social exclusion as those seeking public housing would have the



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opportunity to mix with a much more diverse range of people from varying socio-economic
backgrounds.


From this study, those more obviously at risk of exclusion include the following groups:


   Late teens, particularly those from a lower socio-economic background.           Many of these
    respondents were lacking direction and perceived there to be a lack of career opportunities
    in Canberra for them. The lure of the ‘big cities’ is strong, but they may not feel equipped
    to make the move on their own. Boredom and frustration put them at risk of developing
    anti-social behaviour and preventing or limiting their participation in the workforce.          Our
    research suggests these Canberra residents are heavy users of town centre community
    centres/youth centres (given the range of free activities on offer), and initiatives aimed at
    reducing social exclusion among this group would be best channelled through these
    centres.


   Young adults/DINKS who are new to Canberra. Without established social networks or the
    common ground of children, these people find it difficult to break into Canberra and its
    established social networks. The transitory nature of their work (Defence forces, DFAT or
    DIMA postings for example) for many contributes to this.


   Elderly people, particularly where mobility is an issue, may start to feel socially isolated.


   New migrants struggling to meet people and establish friendships with ‘Aussies’, rather
    than with only other migrants or people from the same cultural background.                For this
    group, confidence with their English is another barrier.


   While few had experienced social exclusion directly, many participants said Canberra is not
    without its share of social problems. Homeless people, the mentally ill, or drug-addicted
    residents of Canberra were all suggested as those most likely to experience social isolation
    and exclusion. Obviously these groups however were not represented within this project.
    Their issues will be complex and would require separate investigation should further details
    on these groups be required.




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                                                                                              5
                                                         This section presents Eureka’s
                                                      conclusions based on the research
                                                                                findings




CONCLUSIONS

From those we spoke to in this research, it is clear that many of the objectives of Canberra’s
Social Plan, and specifically those seeking to minimise social exclusion - are being met. The
project did not specifically identify any specific groups or parts of the Canberra community that
were experiencing high levels of social exclusion. Canberra was generally praised in fact for the
level of social amenities available to ensure that people could participate in the community.


Overall, the results of this research show there were very few major ‘gaps’ that the ACT
Government needs to address in order to foster a greater sense of community or to minimise
social exclusion in Canberra. Rather, the general perception was one of scope to further fine
tune various initiatives, and to further promote and communicate those services and initiatives
that already exist.


Rather than additional services or initiatives, the majority of participants felt that the key
responsibility of government in fostering a sense of community and minimising social exclusion
was to perform the traditional roles of government well.       These included the provision of
adequate policing to ensure residents feel safe and secure, and ensuring that public amenities
on offer are maintained to a level that encourages residents to get out of their respective
homes and enjoy the resources on offer.


Within this relatively positive overall context, there are a range of possible options that could
be explored to further foster a sense of community and to minimise social exclusion. These
include:




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   Some residents commented that calls to Urban Services to report a decline in amenity
    (such as a blocked floodwater canal or broken footpaths) were perceived to be occasionally
    either ignored or not to fall within one distinct area of the department’s numerous
    responsibilities (note that Urban Services was renamed Territory and Municipal Services as
    of July 2006, but that respondents referred to the department as Urban Services over the
    course of this project). These comments were always tempered with an acknowledgement
    of the resource constraints that Urban Services faces, but there is possibly scope to ensure
    all requests for assistance are acknowledged and that some resolution to each issue is
    provided. Even if resource constraints do mean either there is little that can be done, or
    there will be a significant time delay in the department’s ability to respond – it is important
    this be communicated clearly. Such a relationship with the public will reaffirm the sense
    that emerged from the project that Canberrans as a whole are proud of their city and most
    feel a direct stake in maintaining the city’s great environment.


   The geographic design of Canberra, with its distinct town centres and green spaces
    between them, is valued as a unique and distinguishing feature of the city. However, the
    commonly expressed view in the research was that this tended to create some division
    between those who had a car and could travel with ease around the city, and those who
    had to rely on public transport. While it was readily recognised that Canberra’s relatively
    small population means supplementing the bus system with other public transport options
    is challenging from a feasibility perspective, some felt there was scope for the needs of
    those reliant on the system to be considered in terms of both route and timetable design.
    Actively promoting the community consultation that is no doubt already undertaken in
    developing Canberra’s bus service will allow those most reliant on these services to have
    input. An adjunct to this is the provision of additional or special services where required to
    allow maximum opportunity for these residents to participate in major sporting, cultural or
    special interest events.


   Reviewing the communication channels currently used in the promotion of services and
    events on offer to Canberrans may assist in building greater awareness of the full range of
    events and activities on offer. Use of The Chronicle or The Canberra Times is appropriate
    for older and more established Canberra residents, but a different approach is required for
    younger residents and new arrivals.     Websites promoting the diversity of entertainment
    options in Canberra, and highlighting the public space events that are on offer should be
    dynamic and exciting, and aimed at residents, not simply at tourists.         Among younger
    residents, there was little awareness of youth specific sites such as InterACT.        However,
    there was significant interest among this group to receive either weekly or monthly e-
    newsletters regarding upcoming events to ensure they are aware of what’s on offer.


   ‘Welcome Kits’ such as those already available at the Motor Registry and other key contact
    points could be expanded and distributed more widely at public events and spaces such as



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    libraries or Migrant Resource Centres, and even through major employers (such as federal
    government agencies) who draw employees from around Australia to Canberra for work
    purposes (more so for employees other than those recruited via graduate programs, who
    appear better catered for in terms of orientation to the city).       Eureka has reviewed the
    content of these kits and they seem very comprehensive – even to the point of offering
    organised social activities for new Canberra residents. Even if these kits are not distributed
    directly though intermediaries, discussion with the likes of employers and universities could
    ensure that whatever Canberra orientation information is received is as comprehensive as
    possible.


   There was clear demand for further entertainment precincts to be developed, particularly in
    lake front areas. Overall, many participants felt that Canberra has under utilised its
    natural/man made features, and the lake front was seen as holding significant potential in
    terms of opportunities to develop places for entertainment and socialising.                  While
    developments such as the Kingston foreshore are welcomed, some also expressed a degree
    of frustration that such developments have been a long time coming, and that further
    initiatives in this regard should ideally be explored with a degree of priority.


   Initiatives already in place such as the ACT Public Art Program and the ACT Festivals Fund
    – which provide financial support to community based activities - should be more heavily
    promoted to boost awareness of them, and participation in them.            Many participants –
    particularly those in the older age category – reported efforts to generate special interest
    groups or other ways in which their local community could get together, with a wide
    variation in how successful these efforts were.


   In the same way the limited population of Canberra and its geographical spread means it
    sometimes feels as if it is lacks ‘critical mass’, failure to corral and present the extensive
    opportunities in Canberra for entertainment, educational, personal and professional
    development as a cohesive offer means these offerings may be under utilised. The large
    majority of events or services people asked for already exist in Canberra - the challenge is
    helping those who haven’t yet discovered the ‘hidden treasures’ of Canberra find their way.
    While there are already opportunities for small, not-for-profit organisations to promote their
    activities through free “what’s on” sections in community newspapers and via “Community
    Billboard” spots on local television, further brokerage roles could be explored to showcase
    the full range of opportunities for Canberrans to interact with fellow residents.          Greater
    promotion of key resources such as the ACT Communities Online website is just such an
    example.




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                                                                                           A

Appendix A – Affinity group discussion guide

Discussion guide – Neighbourhood and Belonging

Introduction
   Thank participants for coming

   Explain purpose of group discussions and scope of the project (other group
    discussions around Canberra, interviews).

   Introduce topic: “To talk about what it’s like to live in Canberra, and discuss the
    things that encourage, or prevent, a sense of community from developing. We’ll talk
    about the city as a whole, as well as local town centres and neighbourhoods, and share
    thoughts and feelings about the environment we live in and the different kinds of
    social interaction that occur.”

   Audio-recording: request permission, reassure confidentiality, anonymity. Explain
    that tapes will be used for research purposes only – “to make sure that your views can
    be passed on faithfully and without losing important details”.

   Discussion will take around an hour and 45 minutes, or longer if participants wish.

   Explain structure of discussion and role of facilitator – “Our discussion tonight will
    be guided by a number of main themes – I’ll introduce one theme at a time, ask a
    question or two, and let our discussion take its course. If we begin to stray from the
    topic, I will have to lead us back to it, but as far as possible you should feel free to
    approach the topic from your own personal point of view – your own experiences,
    anecdotes and thoughts are all valuable.”

   Group ‘rules’ – one person to speak at a time, no right or wrong answers, your
    opinions that count.

Warm-up exercise
   Participants to introduce themselves.

        How long have you lived in Canberra?


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        Which suburb do you live in?

        How you know each other? Where did you meet? When/how often do you
         see each other?

TOPIC 1 – Views of the city
   To begin, I’d like to discuss your views of Canberra as a city to live in. Thinking of
    both the physical and social environment, how would you describe Canberra to
    someone who has never lived here?

        What things does it have in common with other cities? What things are
         unique to Canberra?

        How do you feel about Canberra as a place to live? Why? What are its
         strengths as a city? Its weaknesses? Is it a place you’d like to live in for the
         rest of your life? Is there anything about the city that makes you wish you
         lived elsewhere?

        Do you think that people who live in Canberra share a sense of community?
         Why/why not? In what ways is community expressed? (e.g. events, public
         spaces, art and architecture, facilities, groups)?

        What aspects of Canberra encourage a sense of community? What aspects
         prevent a sense of community from developing?

                    [Probe: is mobility of the population an issue? In your experience, do
                     people in Canberra tend to move house a lot (to/from Canberra)?
                     What impact does this have, if any?]

        To what extent would you describe Canberra as an ‘inclusive’ city (i.e. one in
         which people are socially connected)? Is exclusion a problem? For whom?
         In what ways?

        To what extent do you personally feel a sense of ‘belonging’ in Canberra? (or,
         conversely, to what extent do you feel that the city ‘belongs’ to you?) How do
         you feel when you tell people from other cities that you live in Canberra?

TOPIC 2 – Life in our suburbs and streets
   I’d now like to talk about life in your suburbs and streets. What do you consider to
    be your ‘neighbourhood’? Is it just your street, from your street to the shops, or the
    whole suburb?

   How would you describe what it is like to live in your neighbourhood to someone
    who has never been there? How would you describe your street? Your local shops?
    Other communal spaces? What is the ‘atmosphere’ like? Why?

        What makes your street/suburb different from others in Canberra? Relative
         strengths/weaknesses?




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        Do you feel that you ‘belong’ to your neighbourhood or that it ‘belongs’ to
         you in some way? Would you miss it if you moved away? Why/ why not?

        What kinds of people live in your neighbourhood? What types of households
         are there?

        What sorts of contact do you have with your neighbours, if any? When/how
         often do you interact with them? What activities have you shared with your
         neighbours, if any?

        Would you say there a sense of community in your neighbourhood? How is
         community expressed (e.g. events, public spaces, art and architecture,
         facilities, groups)?

        What aspects of your neighbourhood encourage a sense of community? What
         aspects prevent a sense of community from developing?

                    [Probe: is mobility of the population an issue? In your experience, do
                     people in Canberra tend to move house a lot (within Canberra)?
                     What impact does this have, if any?]

        To what extent would you describe your neighbourhood as an ‘inclusive’
         neighbourhood (i.e. one in which people are socially connected)? Is
         exclusion a problem? For whom? In what ways? How could this be
         addressed?

        How much of your own social life centres around people and places in your
         neighbourhood?

        Where else have you lived in Canberra?           How did that/those
         neighbourhood/s compare to where you are now? [Better or worse, why?]

        Are there any ‘model’ neighbourhoods in Canberra? What are they and what
         makes them ideal? If not, what would an ideal neighbourhood be like?

TOPIC 3 – Our social lives
   I’d now like to focus more specifically on your experiences of and feelings about
    social life in Canberra. Apart from the neighbourhood contact we’ve discussed so far,
    I’d like to discuss the ways in which you interact socially with others in Canberra.

   How easy is it to meet people and make friends in Canberra? Why is that? What
    things about Canberra make it easier to have a social life? What things make it more
    difficult?

        How would you describe your own social life Canberra? What kinds of things
         do you do? With whom? Where? When? [For informal groups only] What kinds
         of social activities do you usually do together as a group? What kinds of
         activities do you take part in with people who are not part of this group?




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         Have you ever been unable to take part in social activities that you would have
          liked to take part in? What prevented you?

TOPIC 4 – Active participation
   Now I’d like to talk about belonging to community organisations and organised
    groups, clubs and societies in Canberra. I’d like to hear from you all about your past
    and present involvement in organised recreational activities. What involvement have
    you had, if any, and how has that influenced your view of Canberra and what it is like
    to live here? [For formal groups] What involvement have you had with this and other
    groups?

         How did you find out about the group/s? What persuaded you to join?

         [Explore meeting times and locations, activities, length and depth of
          involvement]

         How important a part of your ‘social life’ is/was membership of this
          group/these groups?

         To what extent does involvement in these activities influence the way you feel
          about living in Canberra? Did it change the way you feel about Canberra as a
          community?

         [For informal groups only] If you haven’t ever been a member of groups such as
          these, why is that? Is it something you would consider in future? Why/why
          not? What kinds of groups would you consider joining? What things might
          prevent you?

         Overall, to what extent do you think that people in Canberra tend to
          participate in groups, clubs and societies? Is this a socially active city?

TOPIC 5 – Additional suggestions
   Other than the ideas we’ve shared so far, I’d like to ask you what, if anything, you
    would change about Canberra, either as a city or as a community. What, if anything,
    could be done to strengthen (or reinforce) our sense of community and belonging?
    Thank and close

   “Thank you for sparing the time tonight to take part in our discussion. I hope you’ve
    enjoyed sharing your thoughts and experiences. In doing so, you’ve made a valuable
    contribution to our research. Your views will inform a report we are writing about
    neighbourhood and belonging in Canberra. The research has been commissioned by
    the ACT Government, to increase understanding of factors that encourage social
    inclusion.”

   [Hand out incentives, collect social diaries]




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                                                                                            B
Appendix B – Personal interview guide

Interview guide – Neighbourhood and Belonging #3226

Introduction
   Thank for participating.

   Explain purpose of interview and scope of the project (other group discussions
    around Canberra, interviews).

   Introduce topic: “To talk about what it’s like to live in Canberra, and discuss the
    things that encourage, or prevent, a sense of community from developing. We’ll talk
    about the city as a whole, as well as local town centres and neighbourhoods, and share
    thoughts and feelings about the environment we live in and the different kinds of
    social interaction that occur.”

   Audio-recording: request permission, reassure confidentiality, anonymity. Explain
    that tape will be used for research purposes only – “to make sure that your views can
    be passed on faithfully and without losing important details”.

   Discussion will take around an hour, or longer if participant wishes.

   No right or wrong answers, just your opinion that counts.

Background
   I’d like to begin by asking you about your experience of living in Canberra.

        How long have you been living in Canberra?

        [IF have NOT lived in Canberra all their lives] Where else have you lived and
         for how long?

        Which suburb do you live in? How long have you been living there?

        Do you work? IF YES, how many hours a week do you work?

                    In which suburb do you work?



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                                                                            NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 38
                    [IF work away from home] How do you travel to work?

TOPIC 1 – Views of the city
   To begin, I’d like to discuss your views of Canberra as a city to live in. Thinking of
    both the physical and social environment, how would you describe Canberra to
    someone who has never lived here?

        What things does it have in common with other cities? What things are
         unique to Canberra?

        How do you feel about Canberra as a place to live? Why? What are its
         strengths as a city? Its weaknesses? Is it a place you’d like to live in for the
         rest of your life? Is there anything about the city that makes you wish you
         lived elsewhere?

        Do you think that people who live in Canberra share a sense of community?
         Why/why not? In what ways is community expressed? (e.g. events, public
         spaces, art and architecture, facilities, groups)?

        What aspects of Canberra encourage a sense of community? What aspects
         prevent a sense of community from developing?

                    [Probe: is mobility of the population an issue? In your experience, do
                     people in Canberra tend to move house a lot (to/from Canberra)?
                     What impact does this have, if any?]

        To what extent would you describe Canberra as an ‘inclusive’ city (i.e. one in
         which people are socially connected)? Is exclusion a problem? For whom?
         In what ways?

        To what extent do you personally feel a sense of ‘belonging’ in Canberra? (or,
         conversely, to what extent do you feel that the city ‘belongs’ to you?) How do
         you feel when you tell people from other cities that you live in Canberra?

TOPIC 2 – Life in our suburbs and streets
   I’d now like to talk about life in your suburbs and streets. What do you consider to
    be your ‘neighbourhood’? Is it just your street, from your street to the shops, or the
    whole suburb?

   How would you describe what it is like to live in your neighbourhood to someone
    who has never been there? How would you describe your street? Your local shops?
    Other communal spaces? What is the ‘atmosphere’ like? Why?

        What makes your street/suburb different from others in Canberra? Relative
         strengths/weaknesses?

        Do you feel that you ‘belong’ to your neighbourhood or that it ‘belongs’ to
         you in some way? Would you miss it if you moved away? Why/ why not?




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        What kinds of people live in your neighbourhood? What types of households
         are there?

        What sorts of contact do you have with your neighbours, if any? When/how
         often do you interact with them? What activities have you shared with your
         neighbours, if any?

        Would you say there a sense of community in your neighbourhood? How is
         community expressed (e.g. events, public spaces, art and architecture,
         facilities, groups)?

        What aspects of your neighbourhood encourage a sense of community? What
         aspects prevent a sense of community from developing?

                    [Probe: is mobility of the population an issue? In your experience, do
                     people in Canberra tend to move house a lot (within Canberra)?
                     What impact does this have, if any?]

        To what extent would you describe your neighbourhood as an ‘inclusive’
         neighbourhood (i.e. one in which people are socially connected)? Is
         exclusion a problem? For whom? In what ways? How could this be
         addressed?

        How much of your own social life centres around people and places in your
         neighbourhood?

        Where else have you lived in Canberra?           How did that/those
         neighbourhood/s compare to where you are now? [Better or worse, why?]

        Are there any ‘model’ neighbourhoods in Canberra? What are they and what
         makes them ideal? If not, what would an ideal neighbourhood be like?

TOPIC 3 – Our social lives
   I’d now like to focus more specifically on your experiences of and feelings about
    social life in Canberra. Apart from the neighbourhood contact we’ve discussed so far,
    I’d like to discuss the ways in which you interact socially with others in Canberra.

   How easy is it to meet people and make friends in Canberra? Why is that? What
    things about Canberra make it easier to have a social life? What things make it more
    difficult?

        How would you describe your own social life Canberra? What kinds of things
         do you do? With whom? Where? When?

        Have you ever been unable to take part in social activities that you would have
         liked to take part in? What prevented you?




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TOPIC 4 – Active participation
   Now I’d like to talk about belonging to community organisations and organised
    groups, clubs and societies in Canberra. I’d like to hear from you all about your past
    and present involvement in organised recreational activities. What involvement have
    you had, if any, and how has that influenced your view of Canberra and what it is like
    to live here?

        How did you find out about the group/s? What persuaded you to join?

        [Explore meeting times and locations, activities, length and depth of
         involvement]

        How important a part of your ‘social life’ is/was membership of this
         group/these groups?

        To what extent does involvement in these activities influence the way you feel
         about living in Canberra? Did it change the way you feel about Canberra as a
         community?

        If you haven’t ever been a member of groups such as these, why is that? Is it
         something you would consider in future? Why/why not? What kinds of
         groups would you consider joining? What things might prevent you?

        Overall, to what extent do you think that people in Canberra tend to
         participate in groups, clubs and societies? Is this a socially active city?


TOPIC 5 – Additional suggestions
   Other than the ideas we’ve shared so far, I’d like to ask you what, if anything, you
    would change about Canberra, either as a city or as a community. What, if anything,
    could be done to strengthen (or reinforce) our sense of community and belonging?

Thank and close
   “Thank you for sparing the time tonight to take part in this discussion. I hope you’ve
    enjoyed sharing your thoughts and experiences. In doing so, you’ve made a valuable
    contribution to our research. Your views will inform a report we are writing about
    neighbourhood and belonging in Canberra. The research has been commissioned by
    the ACT Government, to increase understanding of factors that encourage social
    inclusion.”




[                                                                                  COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                          NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 41
                                                                                              C

Appendix C – Social diary

Immediately following is a copy of the Social Diary group participants were invited to complete
in the 7 days leading up to their formal or informal affinity group discussion.


Dear xxxxx,


Thank you very much for participating in this important study. Eureka Strategic Research is
conducting this research on behalf a government department.


You have agreed to participate in a discussion session at <NAME OF HOST> on <DATE> at
<TIME>. In the lead up to our group discussion, we would like you to maintain a social diary
for a 7-day period and bring these completed social diaries to the discussion session.


What is a social diary you ask? Well, we are certainly not asking you to document every minute
of every day! Rather, we would like you to note down where you go and who you interact with
during a certain week.    Social activities include work and family events, as well as informal
social gatherings and events with clubs or societies you might be a member of. The completed
diaries will give us a better understanding of the linkages individual people have with the
broader community in Canberra.


To give you a better understanding of the type of information we are seeking, we have included
two examples of what a typical diary entry might look like.          While there is no minimum
information requirement, we would ask you to provide as much detail as possible about who
you interacted with for each social event.     If you do not wish to write any particular social
events into your diary you have the right to leave them out.          The aim of the exercise is
certainly not to make you feel uncomfortable!


At the back of the diary you will find a map of Canberra with all suburbs numbered, followed by
a complete list of these suburbs. We have supplied this map so that we can get an idea of the
geographical locations of your social interactions. When making a diary entry, we would like
you to note down the number from the list of suburbs next to the location that you have
visited.



[                                                                                      COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                              NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 42
We would like you to bring your completed diary to the group discussion, where they will help
you remember what kind of social experiences you have over the course of a typical week. The
completed diaries will be collected at the group and the details you provide will give us further
information about the social lives of Canberra residents.




We look forward to meeting with you, and once again thank you for your participation.


Regards,




xxxxx | Senior Consultant | EUREKA Strategic Research




[                                                                                    COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                            NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 43
                         EXAMPLE 1 – LOUISE MCKENZIE

Louise is a 32 year old public servant. She is married to Pete and has 2 children – Murray (6)
and Josh (22 months). She lives in Hackett. Louise has been a Canberra resident since 1995.



Day 1
Location            Suburb    What did you do?                Who did you interact with?
                    number
child care centre   40        Dropped Josh off at child       Hazel, child carer, and some
Dickson                       care                            other parents dropping off
                                                              kids
Woden               75        Met all the usual people at     Colleagues (Greg, Sophie,
                              work, plus some more            Asha, Michelle) and my
                              from nearby areas at a          friend Julie.
                              morning tea farewell
                              party. Met friend Julie
                              for lunch.
Dickson             40        Raced through woolies to        Checkout assistant, quick
                              get a few things for            chat to some of the people in
                              dinner.                         the checkout queue
Hackett             41        Home to cook dinner and         Family
                              get Josh ready for bed.
                              Pete is off to P&C meeting
                              at Murray’s school.




Comments about the day
Enjoyed catching up with Julie and we are looking forward to BBQ on Saturday week
– will either have it here or if the weather is good maybe at Gininderra Falls.




                         EXAMPLE 2 – NORMAN JOHNSON

Norman is 74. He is retired and lives in Hughes with his wife Grace. He has lived in Canberra
for 28 years.



[                                                                                   COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                           NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 44
Day 1
Location          Suburb    What did you do?              Who did you interact with?
                  number
Hughes            73        Bought a newspaper            Bob the newsagent
                            from the newsagent at
                            local shops
Woden             75        Lunch with wife Grace         Friends Enid and Fred
                            at the Hellenic Club
Woden             75        Lawn bowls at Yamba           Friends Roger & Ted, along
                            Sports Club.                  with other bowlers
Hughes            73        Home for dinner. Son          Family
                            Mark, his wife Melissa
                            and our grandkids Jane
                            and Michael came over
                            for dinner.
Comments about the day
The club offers good value lunches and I really enjoy having lunch there once a week.
I was saddened to hear from Roger that our good friend Jack had a fall last week and
Grace and I will make an effort to go and see him soon.




[                                                                               COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                       NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 45
                            SEVEN DAY SOCIAL DIA RY



Name:
Age:
Work status:
Home suburb:
Marital status:
No. of children:
How long have you lived
in Canberra?

Day 1
Location           Suburb    What did you do?   Who did you interact with?
                   number




Comments about the day




Day 2
Location           Suburb    What did you do?   Who did you interact with?
                   number




Comments about the day




[                                                                     COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                             NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 46
Day 3
Location         Suburb   What did you do?   Who did you interact with?
                 number




Comments about the day




Day 4
Location         Suburb   What did you do?   Who did you interact with?
                 number




Comments about the day




Day 5
Location         Suburb   What did you do?   Who did you interact with?
                 number




Comments about the day




[                                                                  COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                          NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 47
Day 6
Location         Suburb   What did you do?   Who did you interact with?
                 number




Comments about the day




Day 7
Location         Suburb   What did you do?   Who did you interact with?
                 number




Comments about the day




[                                                                  COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                          NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 48
Looking back at the various social interactions you have had over the past week, how do you
feel about the level of interaction you had with others during the week? Was it an unusually
high level or interaction, or unusually low level of interaction for you?




Do you feel you have sufficient opportunity to interact with other members of the Canberra
community? If yes, why? If no, why not?




Looking at the notes from your diary, are there any barriers you can identify to you having
greater interaction with others? What are these?




Finally, if you knew someone who you considered to be socially isolated to some degree, what
advice would you give them to become more closely linked to others in the community?




[                                                                                    COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                            NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 49
Thank you. Please remember to bring your completed diary to our group discussion.




[                                                                                COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                        NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 50
Full map of Canberra suburbs


                                                                              1

                                                       4             2        3

                                                                          5
                  12                              6
           11                                                   7
                              13
                 14                                                           8        9
           22         15 16
                            17                20
                23                 18                                    10
          27            24              19             21
                28 29             25                                                    37
                        30                                          36
                                             26                               38
                  31 32                                                                    41
                        33                                 39             40
                         34 35                                                44
                                                                 42
                                                                       43
                                                                     46 47
                                                           45
                                                                                   48
                                                                         51
                                             50                                    49
                                                                 53 54
                                                                              58           55
                                                      52         57
                                   71                                    60                      56
                63 64                        73                 59                61
                             65 72
                                                      76
                  66                  75
                        67     68 74                       79                           62
                  69
                             70     77
                                                  78 82
                                            80
                                                   81
                                                                                           101
                             83
                                            84
                                                            89
                                                                     90
                                       86              88
                              85             87                          95
                                                                94
                                             92        93
                                       91
                                                      97
                                                           100
                                        96        99

                                                  98




[                                                                                                              COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                                                      NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 51
Full list of Canberra suburbs
      1   BONNER
      2   Amaroo
      3   Forde
      4   Ngunnawal
      5   Gungahlin
                                GUNGAHLIN
      6   Nicholls
      7   Palmerston
      8   Franklin
      9   Harrison
     10   Mitchell
     11   Dunlop
     12   Fraser
     13   Spence
     14   Charnwood
     15   Flynn
     16   Melba
     17   Evatt
     18   McKellar
     19   Lawson
     20   Giralang
     21   Kaleen
     22   Macgregor
     23   Latham                  Belconnen
     24   Florey
     25   Belconnen
     26   Bruce
     27   Holt
     28   Higgins
     29   Scullin
     30   Page
     31   Hawker
     32   Weetangera
     33   Macquarie
     34   Cook
     35   Aranda
     36   Lyneham
     37   Watson
     38   Downer
     39   O'Connor
     40   Dickson
     41   Hackett
                                North Canberra
     42   Turner
     43   Braddon
     44   Ainslie
     45   Acton
     46   Civic/City Centre
     47   Reid




[                                                         COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                 NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 52
    48   Campbell
    49   Russell
    50   Yarralumla
    51   Parkes
    52   Deakin
    53   Capital Hill
    54   Barton
    55   Fyshwick
    56   Pialligo          South Canberra
    57   Forrest
    58   Kingston
    59   Red Hill
    60   Griffith
    61   Narrabundah
    62   Symonston
    63   Duffy
    64   Holder
    65   Weston
    66   Rivett
                           Weston Creek
    67   Stirling
    68   Waramanga
    69   Chapman
    70   Fisher
    71   Curtin
    72   Lyons
    73   Hughes
    74   Chifley
    75   Phillip
    76   Garran
                              Woden
    77   Pearce
    78   Mawson
    79   O'Malley
    80   Torrens
    81   Farrer
    82   Isaccs
    83   Kambah
    84   Wanniassa
    85   Greenway
    86   Oxley
    87   Monash
    88   Gowrie
    89   Fadden             Tuggeranong
    90   Macarthur
    91   Bonython
    92   Isabella Plains
    93   Richardson
    94   Chisholm
    95   Gilmore




[                                                    COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                            NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 53
     96   Gordon
     97   Calwell
     98   Banks
     99   Conder
    100   Theodore
    101   Hume




[                             COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                     NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 54
                                                                                             D

Appendix D – Maps of group participants’ travel

The following maps of Canberra present a visual representation of the ‘social mobility’ of each
of the discussion group members in the seven days leading up to each group discussion. This
information was gained via the use of a social diary, which group members were asked to
maintain in the seven days leading up to their group discussion.


Completion of a social diary allowed each group participant to record and reflect on their social
interactions over the seven day period leading up to their group discussion, which in turn
assisted in focussing their attention on the key issues of interest for this project. A copy of the
social diary used for this project in included as Appendix C.




[                                                                                      COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                              NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 55
                                                                                                         Informal affinity group
                                                         3             1         2
                                                                                                         City
                                                                                                         18-24 year olds
                                                                             1
                                                    5                        6
     10         12
                                                                  6
                               13
           14                                                                    7        8
             11
              15
     22               4                         20
                                17
           23                                                               9
                                     18
    27               24                   19             21
          28 29                 25                                                         37
                     30                                                36
                                               26                                38
            31       32                                                                       41
                           33                                                   40
                                                             39
                               34     35
                                                                                 44
                                                                   42
                                                                            43
                                                                       46
                                                             45                 47
                                                                                      48

                                                                           51
                                               50                                     49

                                                                   53 54
                                                                                 58           55
                                                        52            57
                                     71                                     60                      56

          63     64                            73                 59                 61
                          65        72
                                                        76
            66                                 75
                     67        68                            79                            62
                                     74
               69
                          70              77
                                                    78
                                                             82
                                           80
                                                        81
                                                                                              101
                          83

                                           84
                                                              89
                                                                       90
                                     86                  88
                               85              87                           95
                                                                  94
                                               92        93
                                     91

                                                        97

                                                              100

                                          96        99


                                                    98




[                                                                                                                          COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                                                                  NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 56
                                                                                    1
                                                                                                            Informal affinity group
                                                            4             2         3
                                                                                                            Inner South
                                                                                                            25-39 year olds
                                                                                5
                                                       6
     11            12
                                                                     7
                                  13
               14                                                                   8        9
                    15
         22               16                       20
                                   17
              23                                                               10
                                        18
    27                  24                    19            21
              28 29                25                                                         37
                         30                                               36
                                                  26                                38
                31       32                                                                      41
                               33                                               40
                                                                39
                                   34    35
                                                                                    44
                                                                      42
                                                                               43
                                                                          46
                                                                45                 47
                                                                                         48
                                                                              51
                                                   50                                    49

                                                                      53 54
                                                                                    58           55
                                                           52            57
                                        71                                     60                      56
              63     64                            73                59                 61
                              65        72
                                                           76
                66                                75
                        67        68                            79                            62
                                        74
                   69
                             70              77
                                                       78       82
                                              80
                                                           81
                                                                                                 101
                              83

                                               84
                                                                 89
                                                                          90
                                         86                 88
                                  85               87                          95
                                                                     94
                                                   92       93
                                         91
                                                           97

                                                                 100

                                             96        99

                                                       98




[                                                                                                                               COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                                                                       NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 57
                                                                                     1
                                                                                                             Informal affinity group
                                                             4             2         3                       Belconnen outer
                                                                                                             40-59 year olds
                                                                                 5
                                                        6
     11             12
                                                                      7
                                   13
               14                                                                    8        9
                    15
         22               16                        20
                                    17
               23                                                               10
                                         18
    27                   24                   19             21
              28 29                 25                                                         37
                         30                                                36
                                                   26                                38
                31       32                                                                       41
                               33                                                40
                                                                 39
                                   34     35
                                                                                     44
                                                                       42
                                                                                43
                                                                           46
                                                                 45                 47
                                                                                          48
                                                                               51
                                                   50                                     49

                                                                       53 54
                                                                                     58           55
                                                            52            57
                                         71                                     60                      56
              63     64                            73                 59                 61
                              65        72
                                                            76
                66                                 75
                         67        68                            79                            62
                                         74
                   69
                              70              77
                                                        78
                                                                 82
                                               80
                                                            81
                                                                                                  101
                              83

                                               84
                                                                  89
                                                                           90
                                         86                  88
                                   85              87                           95
                                                                      94
                                                   92        93
                                         91
                                                            97

                                                                  100

                                              96        99

                                                        98




[                                                                                                                        COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                                                                NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 58
                                                                                       1
                                                                                                                Informal affinity group
                                                              4              2
                                                                                                                Tuggeranong
                                                                                       3
                                                                                                                58+ year olds
                                                                                  5
                                                         6
     11             12
                                                                       7
                                   13
               14                                                                      8         9
                     15
         22                16                       20
                                    17
               23                                                                 10
                                         18
    27                   24                    19             21
              28 29                 25                                                           37
                          30                                                36
                                                   26                                  38
                31        32                                                                         41
                                33                                                 40
                                                                  39
                                    34    35
                                                                                       44
                                                                        42
                                                                                 43
                                                                             46
                                                                  45                  47
                                                                                            48

                                                                                 51
                                                    50                                      49

                                                                        53 54
                                                                                       58            55
                                                             52            57
                                         71                                      60                        56

              63     64                             73                  59                 61
                               65        72
                                                             76
                66                                 75
                         67                                       79                             62
                                   68    74
                    69
                              70              77
                                                         78
                                                                  82
                                               80
                                                             81
                                                                                                     101
                               83

                                                84
                                                                   89
                                                                             90
                                          86                  88
                                   85               87                           95
                                                                       94
                                                    92        93
                                          91

                                                             97

                                                                   100

                                              96         99


                                                         98




[                                                                                                                                  COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                                                                          NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 59
                                                                                          1
                                                                                                                   Formal affinity group
                                                                 4              2
                                                                                                                   City
                                                                                          3
                                                                                                                   Mixed ages
                                                                                      5
                                                            6
         11         12
                                                                          7
                                    13
               14                                                                         8         9
                        15
         22                   16                           20
                                       17
               23                                                                    10
                                            18
    27                    24                      19             21
              28    29                 25                                                           37
                             30                                                 36
                                                      26                                  38
                   31                                                                                   41
                             32
                                    33                                                40
                                                                     39
                                       34        35
                                                                                          44
                                                                            42
                                                                                     43

                                                                                46
                                                                     45                  47
                                                                                               48

                                                                                    51
                                                       50                                      49

                                                                            53 54
                                                                                                        55
                                                                                          58
                                                                52            57
                                            71                                       60                       56

              63         64                            73                  59                 61
                                  65        72
                                                                76
                   66                                 75
                         67                                          79                             62
                                    68      74
                    69
                               70                77
                                                            78
                                                                     82
                                                      80
                                                                81
                                                                                                        101
                                  83

                                                      84
                                                                      89
                                                                                90
                                             86                  88
                                    85
                                                       87                            95
                                                                          94
                                                       92        93
                                             91

                                                                97

                                                                      100

                                                 96         99


                                                            98




[                                                                                                                                    COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                                                                            NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 60
                                                                                       1
                                                                                                                Formal affinity group
                                                              4              2
                                                                                                                Woden
                                                                                       3
                                                                                                                18-25 year olds
                                                                                  5
                                                         6
     11             12
                                                                       7
                                   13
               14                                                                      8         9
                     15
         22                16                       20
                                    17
               23                                                                 10
                                         18
    27                   24                    19             21
              28 29                 25                                                           37
                          30                                                36
                                                   26                                  38
                31        32                                                                         41
                                33                                                 40
                                                                  39
                                    34    35
                                                                                       44
                                                                        42
                                                                                 43
                                                                             46
                                                                  45                  47
                                                                                            48

                                                                                 51
                                                    50                                      49

                                                                        53 54
                                                                                       58            55
                                                             52            57
                                         71                                      60                        56

              63     64                             73                  59                 61
                               65        72
                                                             76
                66                                 75
                         67                                       79                             62
                                   68    74
                    69
                              70              77
                                                         78
                                                                  82
                                               80
                                                             81
                                                                                                     101
                               83

                                                84
                                                                   89
                                                                             90
                                          86                  88
                                   85               87                           95
                                                                       94
                                                    92        93
                                          91

                                                             97

                                                                   100

                                              96         99


                                                         98




[                                                                                                                                  COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                                                                          NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 61
                                                                                       1
                                                                                                                Formal affinity group
                                                              4              2
                                                                                                                Inner North
                                                                                       3
                                                                                                                25-39 year olds
                                                                                  5
                                                         6
     11             12
                                                                       7
                                   13
               14                                                                      8         9
                     15
         22                16                       20
                                    17
               23                                                                 10
                                         18
    27                   24                    19             21
              28 29                 25                                                           37
                          30                                                36
                                                   26                                  38
                31        32                                                                         41
                                33                                                 40
                                                                  39
                                    34    35
                                                                                       44
                                                                        42
                                                                                 43
                                                                             46
                                                                  45                  47
                                                                                            48

                                                                                 51
                                                    50                                      49

                                                                        53 54
                                                                                       58            55
                                                             52            57
                                         71                                      60                        56

              63     64                             73                  59                 61
                               65        72
                                                             76
                66                                 75
                         67                                       79                             62
                                   68    74
                    69
                              70              77
                                                         78
                                                                  82
                                               80
                                                             81
                                                                                                     101
                               83

                                                84
                                                                   89
                                                                             90
                                          86                  88
                                   85               87                           95
                                                                       94
                                                    92        93
                                          91

                                                             97

                                                                   100

                                              96         99


                                                         98




[                                                                                                                                  COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                                                                          NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 62
                                                                                       1
                                                                                                                Formal affinity group
                                                              4              2
                                                                                                                Hawker
                                                                                       3
                                                                                                                40-59 year olds
                                                                                   5
                                                         6
     11             12
                                                                       7
                                    13
               14                                                                      8         9
                     15
         22                   16                        20
                                     17
               23                                                                 10
                                          18
    27                    24                   19             21
              28 29                  25                                                          37
                          30                                                36
                                                    26                                 38
                31        32                                                                         41
                                   33                                              40
                                                                  39
                                    34        35
                                                                                       44
                                                                        42
                                                                                  43

                                                                             46
                                                                  45                  47
                                                                                            48

                                                                                 51
                                                     50                                     49

                                                                        53 54
                                                                                                     55
                                                                                       58
                                                             52            57
                                          71                                      60                       56

              63         64                          73                 59                 61
                               65        72
                                                             76
                66                                  75
                         67                                       79                             62
                                    68    74
                    69
                               70              77
                                                         78
                                                                  82
                                                   80
                                                             81
                                                                                                     101
                               83

                                                   84
                                                                   89
                                                                             90
                                          86                  88
                                    85              87                            95
                                                                       94
                                                              93
                                                    92
                                          91

                                                             97

                                                                   100

                                               96        99


                                                         98




[                                                                                                                                 COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                                                                         NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 63
                                                                                     1                       Formal affinity group
                                                                                                             Tuggeranong
                                                             4             2         3                       Seniors
                                                                                 5
                                                        6
     11             12
                                                                      7
                                   13
               14                                                                    8        9
                     15
         22                16                       20
                                    17
               23                                                               10
                                         18
    27                   24                    19            21
              28 29                 25                                                         37
                          30                                               36
                                                   26                                38
                31                                                                                41
                          32
                                33                                               40
                                                                 39
                                    34    35
                                                                                     44
                                                                       42
                                                                                43

                                                                           46
                                                                 45                 47
                                                                                          48

                                                                               51
                                                    50                                    49

                                                                       53 54
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                                                            52            57
                                         71                                     60                      56

              63     64                             73                59                 61
                               65        72
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                66                                 75
                         67        68                            79                            62
                                         74
                    69
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                               83

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                                                    87                          95
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                                                    92       93
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                                              96        99


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[                                                                                                                                 COMMUNITY INCLUSION BOARD
                                                                                                                         NEIGHBOURHOOD & BELONGING | PAGE 64
[CLIENT LOGO]                           CLIENT NAME
                PROJECT DESCRIPTION | DATE | PAGE 65

				
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