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ARCHITECTURE and design students from RMIT University turned their attention to Balnarring in a recent project looking at ways to enhance the township's public spaces.
Architecture and design studio leader from RMIT, Lucinda McLean, said the speculative project encouraged students to look at how space could be used for community benefit.
"The students looked at different ways of using the space and it got them thinking about the role Balnarring plays in the region as a whole," she said.
"With the nearby wetlands, there are lots of wonderful natural environmental assets that could be used as part of public open spaces.
"Over the past six years we have looked at a number of towns on the Western Port side of the peninsula. We are interested in these small towns that form a network."
Ms McLean said as part of the project students had to gain an understanding of the character of the town and its residents.
"For the students it is a good opportunity to look at both the local environment and the surrounding community," she said.
"We feel these towns have a strong role to play in terms of the environment but any development needs to be done carefully, in a way that is in keeping with the town."
The students came up with a number of small-scale projects for the town, including a bicycle shelter, temporary cafe space, provision for community art spaces, a small information building for a walking track along the old railway lines, community gardens and a community kitchen and a new wetlands centre with information area and study space.
Ms McLean congratulated the students on their final designs and models for the space.
"I think they allowed for the variety of users of the community spaces," she said.
The models created by the students were on display during the long weekend at a Balnarring cafe.
A strategic planner from the shire was invited to view the models.
"The plans are completely hypothetical," Ms McLean said, "but we are always interested in showing it to people if they think it could be beneficial in shaping development of the area."