FAQs

1. Who is eligible to apply?

We encourage applications from all sorts of local groups and communities, whether you’re just a few dedicated local neighbours or a formally incorporated group.

To be eligible, you will need to have:
– A project idea to improve your neighbourhood
– Your project is located within one of the eligible Metropolitan Melbourne Councils (a list of eligible councils is available in the info pack)
– A group (or at least a few keen helpers) ready to pitch in and make it happen
– The support of your council (Note: that you don’t need to have this to submit an EOI, we will work with you to gain council support if your project is selected)
– Reviewed the project information, attended an info session or watched the webinar.

If you’re not currently eligible, or not selected in the first round, never fear – there are lots of ways to get involved. We are actively seeking funding to expand the program to other areas, and we are developing an online range of tools and resources will be shared via the website and training modules.
The intention is that the Neighbourhood Project will create a community of people and organisations interested in improving the way public spaces are delivered.

Please register for updates at theneighbourhoodproject.org to hear about future rounds and other opportunities to get involved.

2. I work for Council, and want to take part in the program / know the perfect community group / have a great idea for a project. Can Council apply to the program?

This year, expressions of interest to take part in The Neighbourhood Project are being sought directly from communities. Interested councils are encouraged to send the info pack to local community groups and encourage them to apply.  

Council support for the Neighbourhood Project and the community group applying to take part, will be an important consideration in selecting program participants.

If a community group in your council area is selected, you council will receive a training and capacity development program to make community-led placemaking and cross-council collaboration easier.

One more thing to consider – you’re a community member too, in your own neighbourhood! There’s no restriction on council staff applying to run a project as a local with their own community.

3. We'd love to participate, but this isn’t a good time. Will there be opportunities later on?

Absolutely. A third round of the program is planned for 2018.

We are continually evaluating the program and will build upon what we have learned, so future rounds may not all look the same. However, future rounds will provide opportunities for more councils and communities to participate.

You can also participate in other ways. Events, open source tools, publications and other resources will be shared on the Neighbourhood Project website to inspire councils and communities to transform underutilised land into great neighbourhood places.

4. How are projects / communities selected?

Applications will be assessed according to the following criteria:

To be eligible, you will need to have:
– Alignment of aims of the idea or project with The Neighbourhood Project goals
– Potential of the community group to benefit from the project training, knowledge and evaluation
– Practicality of the delivery of project or idea
– Capacity of the community group to deliver the project or idea
– Willingness to collaborate with partners, other local residents and local council
– Council capacity to support the project (note that we will contact councils as part of the application process to ensure a level playing field).

A shortlist will be selected in July and selected participants notified by 1 September 2017. The key dates are set out in the info pack.

5. When will I know if I have been selected to take part?

The key dates of the expression of interest process are:

1. Register for an Information Session: Between 1st – 15th June

Meet the team and learn more! Register to attend one of the sessions with a friend from your group, or join the webinar; you can check the dates and register here.

2. Apply online: Between 1st June – 10th July

Speak with your group and neighbours, then submit an expression of interest online at theneighbourhoodproject.org.

3. Shortlist Selected: during July-August

We will shortlist projects during July. During this time we will also work with relevant councils to gain approvals.

4. Final Selection: 1st September

Up to five community groups will be selected in 2017, and up to ten in a second application round in 2018.

6. When does the Neighbourhood Project commence?

Up to five participating groups will be selected by 1st September 2017 with the Neighbourhood Bootcamp kicking off shortly after.

The Bootcamp will involve a total of 5 days of time commitment spread over 3 months between September and November for the formal program. This will be held outside of regular working hours and the exact times will be subject to the availability of selected participants.  The remainder of the program involves community groups delivering their own projects.

7. What types of sites should we look at? Can we use non-council land, like VicTrack, Melbourne Water or Crown land?

We’d encourage you to be flexible with your sites, and keep a few possible sites in mind.

The benefit of using Council land is that Councils will be taking part in the Neighbourhood Project with you, and can help you find an appropriate site within the timeframes.

Using Non-Council land (e.g. private property or other government land) may involve long approval processes and approval may not be possible within program timeframes depending on the site. Proposals focused on non-council land will be considered on a case by case basis, but you may need to rethink your potential sites to progress.

8. Why do we need more resilient, inclusive cities?

Resilient Melbourne, part of the international network of 100 Resilient Cities pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation and a Neighbourhood Project delivery partner, defines resilience as “the capacity of individuals, communities, businesses, institutions and systems in a city to survive, adapt and grow, no matter what chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.”

Connected and inclusive places, effective and efficient councils, and empowered citizens are critical to building this capacity so our cities remain liveable and strong into the future.

9. What is underutilised space?

Underutilised space is all around us: look around your street, your neighbourhood, and your suburb. There are many opportunities to transform council-owned or managed land into places for community use.

Through involvement with the Neighbourhood Project, you and your council will learn more about the different typologies of these underutilised spaces and gain the skills, tools and thinking to enable positive and practical improvements led by communities.

10. Does 'community' mean residential, or can traders apply too?

A community can include anybody that has a stake in a neighbourhood, including residents as well as local traders, employees, students or volunteers.

You do not have to be part of a formal community group to apply – whether you’re a couple of keen mates or a large incorporated group, you are welcome to submit an application. However, all participants will be asked to include the wider community (yes, including those outside of your group) to participate in the project.

11. Do projects need to be in small spaces, or can larger areas of underutilised land be used?

Any site can be considered, as long as the project is supported by the community, and the site can be transformed by the community on a temporary basis in the project timeframes.

If a community has a great group of people with the ideas, energy and enthusiastic to realistically transform a site, then that’s fine. 

We would encourage you to be flexible and keep several sites in mind, just in case one falls through.

12. I have a specific question about the details of project selection and delivery.

At the moment, this FAQ is for questions about the application process and general program components. You can ask questions about the nitty gritty at one of the information sessions, or get in touch with us.

13. I privately own some underutilised land - can I host a Neighbourhood Project?

The Neighbourhood Project starts with enthusiastic communities first, allowing them to identify the projects and sites that matter to them, rather than starting with a block of land then looking for enthusiastic community leaders.

The program is generally targeted at council land, but there may be instances in which private land may be included; laneways or empty lots are an example that may be partially council-run and partially private.

If you are keen to contribute, go ahead and apply – or ask your neighbours and local community groups if they would like to apply together.

14. Why is CoDesign Studio running this program?

CoDesign Studio is a not-for-profit dedicated to thriving, resilient neighbourhoods for everyone. We are big fans of active citizenship, which builds social resilience and reduces isolation.

All of our profits are reinvested in our mission, and we regularly receive grants from groups such as VicHealth, the Department of Justice, and in this instance, the Myer Foundation.

We started the Neighbourhood Project because we run dozens of projects a year and encounter the same barriers over and over again, which can stop projects getting off the ground and cause frustration to communities, council staff, and involved professionals. Rather than tackle these barriers one by one, we can work together to develop a replicable model and resources that makes community-led placemaking easy and drive sector-wide change.

15. When will projects be happening in my neighbourhood?

If your community is selected to participate, projects could be appearing in your neighbourhood as early late spring 2017 but as late at early 2018; it all depends on what works best for the community groups participating. You are warmly invited and encouraged to participate in this process.

Projects will evolve throughout the duration of the program, so check the website regularly to see the progress.

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