The aim of this step is that Movement and Place practitioners and project stakeholders establish an evidence-based, shared understanding of the places that will be affected by the project or plan and can therefore better understand the implications of achieving the vision and objectives identified in Step 1, and identify existing gaps in performance.
Most practitioners will be familiar with ‘site analysis’, often a statutory requirement as part of planning approval. Place analysis involves a bigger picture and more rounded study of a particular place, that takes into account its interrelated layers of activity, physical form, and meaning, across social and cultural, environmental, and economic factors.
A place’s characteristics and qualities can be qualitatively and quantitatively measured. This contributes to an evidence base for decision-making and evaluating options, informs business cases and investment decisions, and supports place performance monitoring.
There are many methods that can be used to involve the community, other stakeholders, and subject matter experts in this process. See the advisory note Place analysis (GANSW 2019).
The level of detail and comprehensiveness of place analysis will depend on the resources available for the plan or project, including the following considerations:
the location and size of the place or project
priorities for the place or project
capabilities of the agency, project team, government project partners, and whether external consultants or experts are required.
Community consultation to understand community sentiment, needs, and values (places of particular meaning) is desirable at this stage.
Documentation (including maps) of place issues and opportunities
Optional: map of place intensity.
2.1 Analyse existing place qualities
Undertake a spatial analysis of the study area’s place qualities, using mapping:
Generate maps using the place data. As a minimum, map the built environment (see urban design analysis, below)
Additional maps may be required depending on the scale and nature of the project. For example, a greenfield project is likely to require a map of a proposed or conjectural built environment (e.g. the structure plan or concept master plan), as well as most aspects of the natural environment (landscape, landform, ecology, hydrology).
Undertake a detailed urban design analysis of the layout, division, and built form of the particular place, including utilities.
Understand how the place is used over time, for example, the daytime, evening and night-time economy. How is public space used in each period, and how intensively? Do any irregular events or seasonal patterns affect the ‘pulse’ of the place?.
2.2 Compare and contextualise
Compare the place to similar places and assess the similarities and differences.
Use precedents: What is considered best practice for a place of this kind (scale, purpose, etc.)? What can be learned from these examples? What is missing here?
Understand the strategic picture
How does the vision for the place fit within the local, State and national plans for the place. Does it align with these plans? If not, why not?
What is the place now, what role does it perform, what works, what is valued?
What is the history of the place – why is it like it is?
2.3 Map and document issues and opportunities
Map the issues and opportunities to inform the case for change. In its most basic form, this may be a map of the areas most suitable to change, enhance, and maintain. Opportunities might be identified by referring to the evaluation criteria identified in Step 1. This map will be used as a base map in Step 4.
Document the issues and opportunities, as a supplement to the map. This is to help interpret the map (expanding on the issues and opportunities mapped in short form) and capture any non-spatial issues and opportunities.
As an optional exercise, to help identify and understand the issues and opportunities (Step 4):