A team of four Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning students completed a six-week work placement with the New Academic Street Project in Semester 1, 2017. The student team conducted a Post Occupancy Evaluation research project on six newly completed student spaces within the NAS precinct at RMIT University. The team carried out observations based on the utilisation performance (frequency and occupation outcomes) of the student spaces.
Overall, the research data collected showed that the newly delivered spaces are performing very well. The findings suggest that at any given time within the research period (Semester 1, 2017 – Weeks 9 – 15), all spaces were occupied. The occupancy rates varied from 22.2% (student portals – 10.13.206) to 64.9% (study pods – 12.06.94). Two of the spaces – study pods (12.06.94) and silent study rooms (12.06.92, 93) – performed very well in comparison to the Tertiary Education Management Facilities Management Association Mean (TEFMA) of 2015.
With regards to seating preference (fixed or loose furniture), there was 50:50 ratio between the six study spaces, and therefore, a conclusion on the preferred seating form could not be determined. The best performing study space with regards to noise, temperature and productivity, individual and collaborative arrangements were the silent study rooms (12.06.92, 93).
“This experience was very useful and showed me that there are many avenues associated with planning. This experience focused more on the research and academic side of planning. It was very interesting and I enjoyed my time at NAS. I believe I would like to focus more on the property development aspect of planning, for my future career,” said Anthony Angelevski.
Associate Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, Cathryn Kriewaldt, praised the initiative.
“The Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning students have gained invaluable practical experience in seeing how major projects affecting spaces and users are envisaged, implemented and then evaluated. These skills are highly transferable to their future work in urban planning.”
The research data and report that was generated by the students as a result of the project findings will be utilised by RMIT Property Services as part of lessons learnt and to inform project benefit realisation. For more information about the project refer to the link on the NAS website.
words: Belinda Kennedy