WE Are Wyndham Vale

Brown Falcon on fence at Wyndham Vale

On the same day that the Wyndham Weekly reported I was to be the new Artist in Residence at Iramoo, Lend Lease announced a new $1B property development on the fringes of Wyndham Vale.  The yet to be publicly named development would house up to 12,000 people within 4000 dwellings.  According to media reports (but surprisingly nothing at the time on Lend Lease’s website) there were plans for four schools, community, sport and recreation facilities, open space with lakes and waterways, and a shopping centre.

Like all master planned developments, this estate will be designed and branded with a specific theme(s) of housing and will be sold in staged releases of house and land packages.

Since then yet more large developments have been announced for the area. Raising even more questions about the pressures all this rapid development is going to place on already stressed infrastructure.

Communities come first?

Far too often the values and long term goals of existing communities are left out of the design and planning processes. While councils may develop long term goals for their area, in areas of rapid growth it seems clear to me that corporate developers have much more power and control over the social and environmental development than the community or local government. Add on top the differing levels of decision making responsibilities between local and state government, it does all get a bit confusing for local people who do want to participate in planning. I can’t speak for the Wyndham Vale community because I don’t know the specific history of the relationships between the council/state government and the developers operating in the area. I do know that of the many conversations I’ve had with locals about the history of the evolution of Wyndham Vale, these issues seem to be very much at play here.

Reflecting on these issues, I designed the major project for my residency, “WE are Wyndham Vale”.

WE Are Wyndham Vale framed embroidery project

I invited all residents of Wyndham Vale to contribute their future visions and exciting ideas for the area.  All of the submissions were incorporated into a large visual wall map of the area. Once submissions were collected and the map designed, community stitching events were held to collectively produce the vision of the neighbourhood. You can see the work in progress photos here.

The unveiling took place at the Iramoo Community Centre where the work now sits on permanent display.