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Charting participatory action and interventionist research processes and for community-based stakeholders in peri-urban contexts: the proposed St. Cuthbert’s Community Centre, Lorne, Australia

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Participatory action combined interventionist research approaches can offer possibilities for community-based facilities and institutions attempting to re-engage with their communities and assert their presence. St. Cuthbert’s Church is a heritage-listed property, located on a major landholding, right in the heart of the summer tourist town of Lorne, on Melbourne’s peri-urban ‘sea change’ fringe. Its sloping hillside vantage offers spectacular views to the beach and Bass Strait, beyond. The congregation, however, is aging, while the broader community is increasingly secular. In response to these circumstances, the Church is looking to assert its relevance with the procurement of a community centre to be erected on the property. Using an interventionist research approach, with a professional facilitator in ‘participatory action design’, it was found that while both residents and visitors to Lorne were favourably disposed to the idea of a community centre, it was also clear that the locus of power that needed to realise this objective lay outside the congregation’s control. A conclusion of this research is that community-based organisations may have to pro-actively engage in professional marketing and prepare business plans, as well as engage in substantial political lobbying both within and external to the Church, if the project is to progress and succeed.

History

Journal

Urban science

Volume

3

Issue

2

Article number

58

Publisher

MDPI

Location

Basel, Switzerland

ISSN

2413-8851

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2019, The Authors