Coinciding with International Day of People with Disability on 3 December, Stockland reaffirmed its position as a leader in accessibility and inclusion with the opening of four new inclusive playspaces in its retail town centres and residential communities, bringing the total number to 23 across its national portfolio.
Amy Hogan, GM of Sustainability, said that Stockland has been steadfast in its commitment to creating inclusive playspaces.
“Despite the challenging year, we’ve been successful in delivering four new inclusive playspaces at Stockland Merrylands and Stockland Shellharbour in New South Wales, Stockland Cairns in Queensland, and later this month, our Edgebrook community in Victoria,” said Hogan. “In addition to these playspaces, we have a range of other inclusive amenities available at a number of our town centres, such as dedicated Quiet Rooms, Parent Rooms, Multi-Faith Rooms and Adult Change Rooms that are equipped with an adjustable changing table and hoist to assist carers and people with disabilities.”
Stockland has also partnered with Australian start-up BindiMaps to integrate its revolutionary wayfinding smartphone app into its centres. The app uses beacon technology to assist people who live with vision impairment to navigate their local town centre.
“In a first for Australia, we’ve been able to integrate BindiMaps at four of our centres in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, and plan to roll this initiative out more widely across the retail portfolio going forward,” explained Hogan, adding that BindiMaps is currently installed at Stockland Wetherill Park in NSW, Stockland Burleigh Heads and Stockland Rockhampton in Queensland and Stockland Traralgon in Victoria.
“We’ve always been focused on accessibility in our town centres and actively seek ways to improve the customer experience for all people. It’s critical that everyone who visits our centres feels welcome, is able to maintain their sense of independence and have the equal access they deserve.”
Kim Becherand, Inclusive Play Manager at Variety – the Children’s Charity, said Variety is committed to ensuring all kids experience the joy and benefits of play.
“Variety Livvi’s Place provides the opportunity for all children and families to play together. “We are so proud of our partnership with Stockland, as we continue to build more and more truly inclusive playspaces,” said Becherand. “Variety Livvi’s Place playspaces are a key element of our broader mission to make sure no child misses out on what they need to be just like everyone else.
“The Variety Livvi’s Places in Stockland retail spaces and residential developments are an essential part of our vision to make play available to all kids within their local community. We have a dedicated team of inclusive play experts who work with the Stockland team to design incredible, bespoke playspaces that reflect the uniqueness and diversity of each community now and into the future.
“We believe every local council area must have at least one inclusive playspace and we’re very excited to be partnering with Stockland who are so forward thinking in changing the way public playspaces are built.”
Kaili Metani, mother to four-year-old Alia, said: “Stockland and Variety Livvi’s Places are so inclusive and accessible. There is plenty of space, everything is safe, there’s no sharp edges and soft fall everywhere, so Alia can wander and crawl around freely and independently. I can see her well without hovering, and can easily get to her if she needs help. Best of all, she can play with other kids.
“These are playspaces where I can bring Alia and her two brothers and they can all play together – usually she has to sit out with me,” explained Metani. “I can have a coffee and talk to other parents too. We are just like every other family, it’s just fantastic.”
In its residential communities, Stockland will soon complete an inclusive playspace at Edgebrook in Victoria and will commence construction on two more in 2021, with the company set to construct two new inclusive playspaces at its Minta community in Victoria and Willowdale community in New South Wales in 2021.
“Our aim is to respond to the needs of people living with disabilities within and around our communities, and to further integrate standards, such as those published by Liveable Housing Australia and Changing Places, across our assets,” said Hogan.
Stockland currently has 17 inclusive playspaces in its retail portfolio and six across its residential communities and the company has committed to delivering at least one inclusive playspace in all residential communities over 1,000 lots.