Rough Edges Street Activation

Rough Edges patrons discuss priority implementation ideas at the community workshop

Planning for the future of a public domain for people experiencing homelessness and isolation is complex and challenging. Who has the right to the city, and who has more of it? Inner city suburbs like Darlinghurst are at risk of being gentrified — increasingly higher-income members of the society can afford to spend time there, and those that are not may not feel welcome.

Rough Edges’ vision to contribute to Darlinghurst’s streetscape, connect with the community and celebrate its diversity is at the heart of this initiative. Rough Edges is a safe place for people on the streets, which provides meals and social opportunities for the marginalised people. Its street front on Victoria Street has consistently high levels of foot traffic, however, suffers from deteriorated building façade and an outdoor space, which is not inviting for social interaction.

Urban Toolbox is working with Rough Edges to develop and implement a design strategy for building’s street frontage. The purpose of the project is to improve the public realm for the Rough Edges community as well as the local residents, businesses and the general public, while encouraging direction and indirect interaction between the groups.

The key objectives for the project are:

  • Invite the general public to engage with the Rough Edges community via active and passive interactions
  • Raise awareness on the issues of homelessness, and attract support from individuals and businesses
  • Improve the street-facing outdoor space for the Rough Edges community’s use and reflect their values
  • Contribute positively to the public domain by offering to neighbouring businesses and passers-by an attractive place to socialise, play and relax
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Stephen Corry, a Rough Edges patron, presents mural design options to the community during a workshop

This project has received DA approval and a matching grant from the City of Sydney, and the implementation weekend is scheduled for late March – early April 2017. Please get in touch to get involved!