We argue that transportation hubs can be instrumental for achieving integration of culturally and linguistically different community groups while supporting transnational spatial practices that are sympathetic to the intersectional needs of new migrants, alongside inter-generational projections of multicultural identity. In this paper, we present two Melbourne suburbs of Box Hill and Oakleigh as case studies. We argue that each possesses different spatial layering and integration of transport systems, land use and infrastructure that appear connected to the cultural demographic associated with these suburbs, particularly in the way public amenities have been adapted through public and private development in these areas.
The study brings together methodologies across planning, design and ethnography to construct a multimodal and multi-scaled timeline that traces the relationship between refugee and immigrant entry and domicile in the specific suburbs to infrastructure improvements and commercial expansion, and then, the nested cultural behaviours and socio-spatial practices familiar to migrants that have shaped the design and use of the neighbourhoods. The timeline will reflect the multimodal approach to collecting and representing the phenomena encountered on site with data from varying sources of information across different modalities including sketches, notes, interview data, photos and multimedia such as video and sound recordings. We demonstrate that the case studies present very different approaches to neighbourhood design. Oakleigh adopts the open street plaza familiar to Mediterranean cities where pedestrian links to nearby transport hubs facilitate circulation, while Box Hill layers retail on top of the transportation hub, similar to metropolitan transit hubs in Asia. These interventions diverge from the increasingly car-dependent park-and-ride models encouraged in suburban Australian developments, and suggest ways in which transnational spatial practices can be integrated; improving the quality of Australian public spaces, by encouraging diversity.
Kelum Palipane, PhD, is Lecturer in Architectural Design at the University of Melbourne. Kelum is a graduate of architecture with experience in practices in Melbourne and overseas. She was awarded her PhD by Creative Works from the University of Melbourne in 2016. Through her research and teaching, Kelum investigates how creative ethnographic methods can inform design in demographically complex urban conditions. Prior research has included developing a design framework that would help retain and foster the placemaking practices of multicultural communities in urban regeneration projects.
Iderlina Mateo-Babiano, PhD, is Associate Professor in Urban Planning at the University of Melbourne. An architect, urban planner and transport planner by training, she teaches Urban Design and Place Making for The Built Environment. Her research is concerned with improving our understanding of how people interact with place, creating unique challenges and opportunities for positive place-based change. She has also advanced a significant body of knowledge in streets as places, active transport, gender and transport, with theory and policy implications within the Australasian setting.