Haig Park belongs to all of us. It is our city’s backyard and a symbol of the Canberra community – a community that shares.
It is widely felt by locals and visitors that the park is brimming with untapped potential. Building upon the Haig Park Place Plan, the experiments seek to tap that potential by inspiring the city to reconnect, take stewardship of the park’s development, and share in its growth. Our approach to the project is about embracing instead of modifying the ”urban forest” character of the park.
To know where the park is headed, we need to know where the park has come from. And so, Haig Park Experiments respects and acknowledges the park’s Ngunnawal custodianship and connection to Country, taking steps towards meaningful reconciliation through the way it can be used. The park’s well-recognised heritage status and value also underscores the diverse experiments program.
To reconnect Canberra with Haig Park, it will not be enough to simply hold large short-lived events to attract big crowds, especially when the events could easily have been anywhere else. This program of experiments explores a variety of temporary improvements and activities to create meaningful connections to the park for surrounding residents and Canberrans at large. The results of this project will ultimately inform the permanent upgrades scheduled in the third and final stage of the Haig Park Place Plan. Light-touch improvements do not mean low impact but, in many cases, locally focused and high impact for those who already engage with Haig Park (or are very close to).
Let’s branch out and embrace our city’s backyard – Haig Park.
The City Renewal Authority has appointed a University of Canberra led consortium, which includes Tait Network, Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centre, and Dionysus, to implement Haig Park Experiments - a range of events, activities and light-touch park improvements that could be made permanent if successful.
In developing and delivering the program, the consortium draws on the expertise and support of a knowledgeable advisory committee, community coalition, the City Renewal Authority and the wider ACT Government.
Haig Park Experiments will take place from June to October 2019. Select projects will be created through a co-design process and the majority of projects will be designed to enable community engagement and capacity building.
The program can be loosely grouped into three overlapping phases.
“Welcome” invites new and past users back into the Haig Park by refreshing key areas of the park’s infrastructure, supported by playful small-scale public activities. See a list of the experiments here.
“Discovery” encourages new types of participation in Haig Park through larger-scale infrastructure experiments such as a temporary events pavilion, nature play activities, and events that inspire Canberrans to rediscover the seasonal beauty of winter.
“Celebration” continues to build upon the work of the previous two phases with large event experiments which coincide with the arrival of the warmer months.
Upcoming experiments in phases 2 and 3 include:
Visit the Haig Park Website to find out more.