City Futures Research Centre UNSW Built Environment

Understanding People-Based Outcomes: Following a Community Experiencing Transition through Renewal

The western Sydney suburb of Bonnyrigg is going through major renewal works over the next decade and a half to transform it from a predominantly public housing estate to a multi-tenured neighbourhood. As with any large-scale renewal project, especially one with such a heavy focus on its housing stock, the communities at Bonnyrigg and its immediate surrounds will be greatly affected.

Newleaf Communities has been established as the consortium responsible for overseeing the course of the renewal. It follows a public-private partnership model, the first (and to date, the only) of its kind in Australia in terms of neighbourhood-wide renewal, and comprises five public (Bonnyrigg Management), private (Becton Property Group Limited; Westpac Banking Corporation; Spotless Group) and not-for-profit (St George Community Housing Association) partners.

To be completed in 18 stages over 15 years, the first few stages of resident relocations and housing demolition have already been completed; new housing in Stages 1, 2 and 3 have also been constructed and residents have already moved in (as at August 2013). Neighbourhood renewal, however, is more than just about physical overhauls.

As part of its commitment to the Bonnyrigg neighbourhood, Housing NSW and Newleaf Communities have asked City Futures Research Centre to conduct a longitudinal study and look at the renewal from a more socially-oriented perspective.

From here, the Bonnyrigg Residents Panel was established. The Bonnyrigg Residents Panel is a panel of 100 households who actively engage in research about the changes occurring in Bonnyrigg over the course of the renewal. Invitation is open to all residents of Bonnyrigg and participants play active roles in sharing their thoughts about how they, their families and the communities in general experience the changes brought about by the renewal.

Akin to all longitudinal studies, panel members will participate in a series of in-depth interviews throughout the course of the renewal, from pre-relocation, through temporary re-settlement, to their re-introduction to the new Bonnyrigg. Like Newleaf Communities, the Bonnyrigg Residents Panel and its associated longitudinal study will be the first of its kind in Australia, tracking resident experiences throughout the course of their neighbourhood's renewal process.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Bonnyrigg Residents Panel or if you would like to become a member, you can call or email the project manager, Edgar (02 9385 4245; edgar.liu@unsw.edu.au ) and he will be happy to answer your questions.