In 2017, the ACT Government began an extensive community engagement strategy to identify perceptions about Haig Park, as well as community aspirations and ideas for improving it in the future. The Haig Park Place Plan was created from this community engagement process.
Haig Park Experiments continues the dialogue with the community through the realisation of a shared community vision for the park as identified in the first two stages of the Haig Park Place Plan. This involves undertaking a series of “short-term experiments and activations” (experiments) and an iterative “monitor and change” process as identified in the place plan.
Originally constructed as a shelter belt in the early 1920s, Haig Park was later designated a public park in 1987 and listed on the ACT Heritage Register in 2000 for its significance as a landscape feature. After extensive community consultation, it is clear that Canberrans value the park as an urban green space, citing that it's tree plantations are integral to its beauty. The light-touch nature of the Haig Park Experiments protects and embraces the heritage status of the park while trialling ways to improve its amenity and greater use.
Aerial image of Haig Park, 1955
“In its current state Haig Park is underused, perceived as unsafe and doesn’t meet the needs of the Canberra community in 2018 and beyond.”
Malcolm Snow, City Renewal Authority Chief Executive Officer (Haig Park Place Plan).
Community feedback described Haig Park as ”unsafe”, ”boring”, ”dark”, and ”underutilised”. Key findings from the a 2017 place utilisation study found that most people passed through, instead of using the park, and also almost two-thirds of park users were male. Haig Park Experiments is a unique opportunity to trial improvements and activities with community stakeholders within an evaluation cycle of Propose, Test, Monitor, and Change, to determine their viability for implementation as a long-term improvement.
Some of the desired outcomes include increased diversity and number of park users, increased safety through passive surveillance, improved amenity for activities, and improved public perception. You can find specific outcomes within the individual experiment pages below.
For more information, download the Haig Park Place Plan.