Canning Bridge Social Research and Place Planning

The Client
City of Melville
Project Team
Cath Blake-Powell
Director, Principal - Engagement
Ben Kent
Principal - Place
Liz Pope
Senior Consultant - Engagement
Suzie Zuber
Senior Consultant - Place
Marisa Santosa
Graphic Designer
The Project

The City of Melville is transitioning from a more traditional, riverside community into an increasingly sought-after destination for residential, commercial and leisure pursuits. New residents and visitors are flocking to the area due to its thriving cultural offering and high-quality mixed-use developments.

element’s Place and Engagement teams were appointed by the City of Melville to deliver an evidence-based approach to managing this new wave of development, ensuring community needs and priorities are taken into consideration and tangible benefits are delivered on-the-ground.

Our Role

As social research experts, we undertook a thorough desktop review of literature and on-the-ground place observations to understand the City of Melville, its place drivers and the emerging local context. Our social research report outlined the study area context of Canning Bridge, community considerations, demographic profile and implications, and an asset audit map to help inform a gap analysis and common themes of the area.

We led development of an engaging project identity – At Canning Bridge – to be used by the City in its engagement portal, wrap-around communications and at its newest civic space, the CirqueCommunity Space. We used this space to co-ordinate a suite of localised programs and events to test community priorities and further embed activation within the community.

Building on these insight into the communities, assets and services within and surrounding the Canning Bridge area, we developed a comprehensive Community Development and Place Activation Plan to guide services, programs and planning for future development of the precinct.


A key milestone was achieving stronger alignment across core City business units by bringing officers together to consider Canning Bridge as a complex and dynamic place with often conflicting needs. This led to more streamlined and joined-up decision making and the genesis of a new place-based governance model within the City.

In producing a key piece of social research, we delivered an invaluable summary of the themes, priorities and needs that people who live, work, and socialise in the Canning Bridge precinct.

Our Community Development and Place Activation Plan gives the City a clear framework for delivery of urban planning, capital works program, community services and programs. The Plan is also used by the private sector to identify how it can best deliver tangible community benefits when seeking discretion through the planning framework. This is leading to delivery of spaces and assets the community prioritises.

What We Delivered
  • At Canning Bridge place brand
  • Face-to-face and online engagement – community and stakeholder groups
  • Social research report – Needs Analysis
  • At Canning Bridge Community Development and Place Activation Plan

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