A former World War II railway branch line in Melbourne’s north that has been transformed into four hectares of open community space has won the Planning Institute of Australia’s inaugural Healthy Active by Design (HAbD) Award for Victoria.
The Meadowlink Linear Park is providing the rapidly growing Broadmeadows community with important health and wellbeing benefits. It includes a recreational path for walking, jogging and cycling and new ecological habitats, and was described by the award judges as “an example of how commitment to the concept of healthier communities can be delivered through a strong vision and deep engagement with the local community”.
The HAbD award recognises exceptional design projects that increase physical activity and health outcomes in our built environment and is sponsored by the Heart Foundation. It joins 13 other award categories that make up the Victorian Awards for Planning Excellence program.
PIA VIC/TAS Executive Officer, Carmel McCormack said the Meadowlink Linear Park is an exemplar of the type of planning efforts that should be recognised with the introduction of the new Victorian Awards for Planning Excellence category.
“By acknowledging projects that make our communities healthier places to live, work and play, we can highlight to the public the important role of the planning process in assisting people to live healthy lifestyles.”
The Heart Foundation’s Director of Active Living, Adjunct Professor Trevor Shilton, said Meadowlink showed a commitment to five of the eight features of Healthy Active by Design, an online resource created to help planners, urban designers, developers and local governments create active, healthy and engaged communities.
“The way our neighbourhoods are designed and built is intrinsically linked to how much physical activity we do and how connected we feel to our local community,” Professor Shilton said.
“In celebrating excellence in healthy urban design, we encourage built-environment practitioners to design people-friendly spaces that reduce barriers to Australians getting more active in their daily lives.”
Heart Foundation CEO Victoria, Kellie-Ann Jolly congratulated the winner and said projects like Meadowlink Linear Park are vital to addressing the growing inactivity, overweight and obesity issues in our community.
“While the latest data showed more than two thirds of Victorian adults and nearly one in four Victorian children were overweight or obese, we know this trend is set to increase.
“If we don’t take steps now through better urban design and preventative health strategies, more Victorians will suffer from Australia’s leading killer, heart disease.”