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Place and Community Framework

Principle 2

Principle 2 focuses on Belonging, openness and connectedness. RMIT places will be welcoming for all and contribute to community wellbeing, safety and inclusion. They will be open, accessible and connected to the broader community.

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This principle brings together RMIT’s identity as an urban, open and inclusive institution and extends on commitments we have already made in policy. RMIT’s Strategy acknowledges the importance of diversity within our community, the value it brings to the University, and the positive impact of diversity on belonging and well-being.

RMIT aspires to go beyond mandatory compliance on matters of diversity to build a strong community of diverse learners and staff: “We are better for our diversity, both students and staff. When we listen to those who are different to us, or challenge us, we grow stronger together. When we feel like we belong, we can achieve so much more. We respect each other, we embrace our differences and we build a sense of belonging in our team and beyond”.

How this could work in practice

Applying the University’s design standards to create consistent outcomes across all locations:

  • Spaces for all which visibly demonstrate the value of inclusion, and encourage greater understanding of our diverse community.
  • The provision of space and services that contribute to the active well-being of staff, students, partners, industry and the community.
    • A proactive focus on campus safety (incl. passive surveillance) Specific “calm zones” designed to reduce stress.
  • Spaces that contribute to a sense of belonging and community ownership
    • Concentrated hubs for activity (e.g. spaces for communal gathering, sports and recreation) rather than decentralised dispersal of activity.Creation of a ‘home away from home’ for students.
    • Spaces with a sense of personalisation (not too polished / sterile / over-designed)
  • Spaces which are accessible, and open to the community rather than closed off
    • Physical porosity to allow access for the public to move through the campus particularly across the ground plane (excluding necessary secure areas on the University campus)
    • Transparency of university activity on display to the broader community and public
    • Activities which involve the community and local industry broadly to encourage authentic collaboration in space
    • Creation of an organic environment for personal and professional engagement
    • Activation of ground spaces (including laneways) throughout RMIT’s precincts
  • Spaces that are connected to each other and have easy transport options to other campuses or neighbouring locales
    • The provision of a network of connected walking trails, parks, and open spaces so that buildings are linked together by a curated, green pathway without “dead zones”
    • The provision of accessible and linked active transport options for key public transport corridors including future train, tram or bus routes.
    • The design and delivery of places that are quick and easy to travel through by foot or bike.

Example: RMIT PlaceLab

RMIT PlaceLab is a new urban initiative that connects RMIT, its academics and students into key local communities; identifying opportunities to better understand and address vital civic challenges. This is research built for purpose, place, and people.

Featuring shopfront-style ‘Research Studios’ located in the local neighbourhoods of Melbourne & Brunswick, RMIT PlaceLab’s engagement and research activity is linked to RMIT’s existing placemaking partnerships of the Melbourne Innovation Districts (MID) & the Brunswick Design District (BDD), while also aligning to relevant local & state government goals & objectives.

RMIT PlaceLab fosters inclusion and accessibility into the diverse, and growing networks of community knowledge, innovation, and exchange. The initiative is open to all, with short, sharp & actionable research co-created and co-authored by the community, industry, and academia.

Project outcomes are designed to motivate and underpin local decision making, translating research findings into practical solutions, supporting programs, projects and policies alongside our government and placemaking partners to build local capability and promote liveable and adaptive futures.

Hosted by RMIT as a trusted convener and knowledge broker – PlaceLab is able to connect and mobilise a broad range of disciplines & sectors. Employing the model of ‘Engage, Research & Transform’ the initiative seeks to further strengthen RMIT’s ability to broker knowledge and extends RMIT’s brand and reputation as a uniquely urban university.

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