Compass Housing Services: Delivering the New Urban Agenda at the local level.

Compass Housing Services: Delivering the New Urban Agenda at the local level.

1.Compass Housing Staff Receiving Deep Place Training. 
As a provider of social housing in Australia and New Zealand, Compass Housing confronts the problem of poverty and social exclusion daily.  Our tenants are drawn from the lowest income groups and experience complex patterns of social exclusion.  Many tenants experience poor physical and mental health and long-term economic inactivity is the norm.  As a ‘socially regenerative’ housing provider we welcome the responsibility to improve the social and economic outcomes of our tenants.  To do this we link tenants to a wide range of social support agencies and regularly assess their social wellbeing as part of our tenancy management model. 
Compass also manages localities of high concentrations of poverty and is interested in more communal approaches to poverty eradication.  In this we link to both the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda and we are currently integrating these frameworks into our corporate planning and strategic operations.  In attempting to develop a sustainable model of social and economic development we have adopted the Deep Place method of achieving equitable and sustainable communities.
The Deep Place method was developed in Wales, UK to create environmentally sustainable solutions to long-term relative poverty in post-industrial communities.  It has since been developed in a range of socio-economic contexts and at varying spatial levels. It commences from the viewpoint that the greatest asset of any place is its people.  Connecting people and place is the starting point to create liveable and inclusive places.  The Deep Place method connects the physical with the social space and addresses poverty eradication and environmental sustainability.  Consequently, the approach closely aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda. 
The Deep Place method brings three core concepts together in a triangulated methodology to coordinate, curate and plan for more vibrant and equitable communities:
Deep Place integrates thee innovative development strategies:
  • Transition thinking: the environmental imperative demands that we find new approaches to old problems and that we neutralise, or make positive, our environmental footprint.
  • Total Place thinking: is an innovative approach to the design and delivery of public services that focuses impact, reduces wasted effort and aligns services with citizens needs and expectations.
  • Foundational Economy: recognises the economic impact and further potential of the local economy that meets our everyday needs of food, shelter, transport, energy, healthcare and education to create equitable economic development at the local level.
 
2. Opening of Compass Housing Community Centre and Stage, Freswota, Port Vila.
The Deep Place method identifies the need for purposeful collaboration between multiple levels of government, civil society and the private sector.  Deep Place planning advocates the creation of a ‘coalition for change’ to target resources and services to maximize their positive impact.
The first Deep Place study in Australia was of the community of Muswellbrook NSW and will be followed in 2018 by further studies in Cessnock and Taree, NSW.  Compass has also recently completed two development projects in Vanuatu to restore community facilities destroyed by a cyclone in 2015.  Building on this experience, in 2018 Compass Housing will conduct a national level Deep Place study in a Pacific nation context to inform future development activities.
The Deep Place method is supported by the Deep Place Centre (www.deepplace.org) where you can view the Deep Place studies conducted to date.  In Australia, Deep Place is a collaboration between the Centre and Compass Housing Services (www.compasshousing.org).  Both organisations are committed to the creation of equitable and sustainable communities and support the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)and the United Nations Habitat New Urban Agenda. 
 

Author: Prof Dave Adamson.
Photo credits: CHS(cc).