Sports facilities are moving beyond a changing room and narrow benches for spectators. Larger sports infrastructure is being designed for whole communities, not just sports teams. It has to be a social, economic and environmental investment. Belinda Goh from Populous provides some insights into the design processes behind two case studies. They cover cultural diversity, connection to country and including women in the design of sports facilities.
The focus of Belinda Goh’s presentation for the NSW Office of Sport webinar was two case studies. The design of both were underpinned with a universal design approach using extensive community engagement strategies. Co-creation and co-design were essential to the success of the designs.
Goh explained that sports facilities should integrate community and grassroots activities with these projects. She uses examples of major professional sports teams bringing women into elite sports. So she is talking beyond standard design thinking to deliberately designing women into these facilities. But this made for more inclusive facilities overall.
Goh discusses how beginning with a focus on including women has matured into an approach for all Populous’ designs. It is about being more inclusive, equitable and universal in their approach. She says it also about going beyond access codes to making people feel like they belong.
In a second case study she discusses the new multi-use sports facility on the mid north coast of NSW. This project posed some additional challenges. It involved delving into the “why” of the project and significant community engagement. The area has a high Indigenous population as well as the largest Sikh population outside India.
Apart from consulting with sports organisations, they talked with people from arts, youth, and the nearby high school among others. In considering the culture of the spaces they also included the concepts of universal design and access to all spaces.
Belinda Goh’s presentation is engaging and worth a look in the video below.
There is more on the ABC news website about the Matilda’s new home. Well, not so much a new home but a first home. The facility will also house a sports science centre, a gym and recovery rooms.