Wednesday 1 March 2017
By Jessica Stewart

I recently came across an article featured on ABC News online, where visual artist Calista Lyons, now based in the US, returned to her hometown of Tallangatta Valley.

Calista set out to photograph members of the community to highlight some of the issues facing rural farming towns. What I found particularly interesting about the work (even more so than the amazing portraits that Lyons took) was that at the end of the process, Lyons gifted each portrait back – not to the original owner, but to another member of the community.

What I love so much about this is that Calista wanted to encourage connections within the community. Conversations were sparked with people swapping photos, sharing stories and meeting people that they otherwise wouldn’t.

This is exactly what I hope happens within our Ginninderry community – that people who haven’t been connected before find a common interest and connect – building pride and a sense of community from within.

One of the common interests that will be fed through Ginninderry is sustainable living. At Ginninderry, we have really tried to incorporate sustainably in every decision that we make – whether that be the trees that we plant, the materials that we use and the processes that we take.

Contrary to popular belief, sustainability is more than just about the environment – it also encompasses liveability, economic prosperity, governance, design and innovation. This is that I think will make Ginninderry so unique – that every aspect of the development has been designed with an all-encompassing definition of sustainability in mind.

For me, being part of the Ginninderry project team represents an opportunity to work with likeminded individuals – those who share my passion for engaging and working with the community to design and deliver smarter, practical living solutions that goes beyond the normal urban design thinking.

As part of this process, we’ve really tried to get the community’s input into how they want to live – now and in the future, and in doing so – unite people through the pursuit of a common goal.

Concepts have emerged (and will continue to emerge) from our discussions with the community and include dedicated recreational and community activity areas and gardens, ponds and wetlands, native and edible plan species, and a focus on well-designed urban areas and homes that allow for greater diversity and long-term affordability. We aim to not only provide roads and buildings, but spaces where the community can come together to share stories, experiences and connect.

For myself and the Ginninderry project team, we look upon this journey as a partnership – a partnership with each other and the people who have before and in the future will belong to the Ginninderry community. A community isn’t a static thing and our ideas, our solutions and the people who live there will adapt over time. We are all custodians of the land and I hope that we will continue to evolve sustainable thinking through Ginninderry into something tangible, memorable, culturally significant and therefore – totally unique.

Jessica Stewart – Ginninderry Sustainability Manger