The #BackyardExperiment results are in

As of 1 January 2018, the management of the City Centre Marketing and Improvements Levy transferred from In The City Canberra to the City Renewal Authority. Views expressed in these articles may not reflect the views of the Authority.

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.