Results are in from the #BackyardExperiment, a pop-up park in Canberra’s Garema Place designed to test the power of simple interventions to attract more people to an underused public space.
Street Furniture Australia launched the pop-up park and social study in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), the ACT Government and In The City Canberra. The park, designed by landscape architecture firm Context , featured movable furniture, knitted trees, lighting, living lawn, free Wi-Fi and book shelves, making the space more colourful, green and inviting.
The experiment took place over eight days from 22–30 October, 2016, with time-lapse cameras capturing the activity from three angles. The footage was used to measure foot traffic, the number of dwellers and changes in demographic groups.
Before #BackyardExperiment, 97% of visitors passed through Garema Place without stopping. During the experiment visitor numbers to Garema Place almost doubled, increasing by 190% in just 8 days. The number of people who stayed increased by 247%.
The most significant changes were seen in demographic diversity. Before the experiment 98% of dwellers were adults, mostly from the street and homeless community. Locals described the space as “intimidating,” “rough,” and “tired.” Few families and seniors visited Garema Place. During #BackyardExperiment an incredible 631% more children were seen staying and enjoying the area.
Keep an eye on Garema Place in the coming months as the Early Morning Center update the space once a month with painting and other activities.
The #BackyardExperiment was part of the 2016 International Festival of Landscape Architecture: Not In My Backyard held in Canberra in October 2016. The biannual festival aims to connect the public with landscape architects, the program including a Conference, the National Landscape Architecture Awards, Festival Party and a host of public and industry tours, exhibitions, city activations, screenings and talks.