Promoting diversity and inclusion within land and waterway management

Melbourne Water is committed to encouraging diverse and inclusive community use of waterways and land. This collaboration sought to broaden the understanding and capacity of the organisation to apply a diversity and inclusion lens.

Melbourne Water encourages diverse and inclusive community use of blue and green spaces (waterways and land), with the aim of ensuring the way they are strategically planning and managing land leads to it being accessible and inclusive for more of the community.

We undertook a rapid desktop research review in collaboration with Melbourne Water’s Land & Collaborative Planning team.  

The challenge:
To find out what works to promote diversity and inclusion within land and waterway management.
Melbourne Water

What did we do?

A rapid desktop research review was conducted addressing the following question developed in collaboration with Melbourne Water’s Land & Collaborative Planning team:

"What works to promote community diversity and inclusion within land and waterway management?"

After screening an initial 2787 citations for review, 12 studies were identified.

What did we find?

A range of approaches and program elements were evident in the primary studies, including

·     Collaborative planning

·     Co-design principles with stakeholders

·     Youth workshops, information sessions, community listening sessions, focus groups

·     Park audits, asset and value mapping

·     Walk-and-talk interviews

·     Support from multiple organisations and at a senior level.

·     Hiring dedicated, trained inclusion staff

·     Assessing organisational readiness and setting aside or raising funds for programming.

·     Designing parks to be diversity-welcoming

·     Supporting all users so that youth as well as those with disabilities or impairments were catered for.

·     Community gardening, providing benefits for mental health, socialising, physical activity and connecting with nature.


The review described a range of approaches to promoting community diversity and inclusion in land and waterway management. The main focus was on urban green spaces and community gardens, however there were a few that highlighted effective programs directly relevant to waterways.

Several studies indicated it was the context and community specific nature of this work that proved effective, and emphasised the importance of engaging target populations in the planning process. The studies focused on people with disabilities and culturally and linguistically diverse communities, reminding us of the range of considerations we need to keep front of mind to ensure that programs meet those populations’ specific interests and needs.

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