Ginninderry: A global leader in connected communities

"By working with these groups, we’ve gained valuable insights into the best ways to communicate what we are doing at Ginninderry, how it fits with their needs, and how the environment and the community will both benefit in the long term.”"

JESSICA STEWART

Ginninderry Sustainability Manager

Sustainability and scale

It’s hard to imagine that a community the size of Ginninderry can achieve a 6 Star Green Star – Communities rating, but it’s done just that.

Spanning four suburbs – three in the ACT and one in NSW – it will be home to 11,500 dwellings over the next 40 years.

While its scale is impressive, the development rate of 300-400 dwellings per year means Ginninderry will unfold over time.

Ginninderry’s Sustainability Manager Jessica Stewart explains the complexities and opportunities that come with seeing a project of this magnitude through to completion.

“This sort of staged approach gives us a real opportunity to explore, deliver and learn about how we build communities over time,” she says.

“We won’t actually finish Ginninderry until 2055 when I’ll be 70. What will technology look like? What will roads look like? How will we actually live, move, connect in that time? It is an exciting opportunity to be working on a project with such a long time frame, and with a commitment by both the government and private industry,” Jessica says.

Sustainability connected by people and place

Considering the scale of Ginninderry, what makes it a global leader in community development?

One answer lies in community engagement initiatives using land and natural surroundings to connect residents in Ginninderry and surrounding areas.

“Our engagement strategy has really been to bring everyone on the journey. On a 40-year project, the school children we talk to today about what they’d like to see in neighbourhood playgrounds will be the adults who build houses in the future,” explains Jessica.

Ginninderry is home to number of active community groups such as ‘Bush on the Boundary’, for example, which is undertaking long-term research projects, monitoring the native environment for frogs, turtles, birds and noxious weeds, and restoring habitat and biodiversity.

Another ‘people and places’ advisory group brings together Ngunnawal Elders, community councils, church groups, cycling and pedestrian advocacy groups and homelessness networks in the Belconnen region.

“By working with these groups, we’ve gained valuable insights into the best ways to communicate what we are doing at Ginninderry, how it fits with their needs, and how the environment and the community will both benefit in the long term.”

Challenging the norm

Public transport is an integral element of any sustainable community. But in many greenfields developments, bus and train services can be years, if not decades away.

In a new estate in Canberra, bus services aren’t typically provided until around 2000 people are living in an area, Jessica says.

Ginninderry will offer services from day one.

“A shuttle bus service will connect our community all the way down to Kingsford Smith School about two kilometres away, then through Kippax, where there is a rapid bus route into Belconnen and another stop into the city.”

The community is set to roll out around 1,800 dwellings by 2022 and backed by a 6 Star Green Star – Communities rating, Jessica is confident Ginninderry will emerge as a great place to live for residents.

“Sustainability means a lot of different things to different people. For us, it means we want to be sustainable over time – socially, economically and ecologically.

“We want to respond to the environment, accommodate future innovation in design, infrastructure and regulation, deliver affordable places for people to live and present a new model for others to follow.”