Youth Audit MacFarlane Park

For the full report, click on this link below:
ReVision Youth Friendly Spaces Audit Report | MacFarlane Park Basketball Court (2021)

1. Executive Summary (Page 3)
On August 3 and August 7, 2021, the MacFarlane Park Basketball Court was audited by young people on its youth-friendliness. Using the Youth Relevant Design Check Card and Youth Friendly Spaces Audit, young people audited the MacFarlane Park Basketball Court on its safety, appeal, accessibility, resourcing, and youth-friendliness.

The MacFarlane Park Basketball Court performed averagely in the Youth Friendly Spaces Audit, scoring a total of 59.5% and producing a Net Promoter Score of 0.

The youth auditors really like how the space sums up the community vibe of Shirley.
The basketball court is centrally connected to other places that local youth access and is surrounded by bus stops that cater for the central bus network.
They enjoy using the space to spend time with friends and play sports. It currently caters for their needs but does need some work to have better practicality.
The main area young people thought could be improved and gave feedback on is the current state of the basketball courts which need cosmetic and practical upgrading for youth to enjoy.
In addition, the general area around the court would benefit from more lighting, more seating around the area, an improved water fountain, and a bin nearby to accommodate the basic needs of an outdoor youth-friendly space that can be enjoyed by everyone.

4.2.1 What do you like about this space? (Page 9)
The most common theme that came through the scorecard regarding what people like about the space is that MacFarlane Park is easily accessible and a great place to hang with friends.
One reason for this is that the park is the closest thing nearby for youth, “It’s the only thing around here so it’s this or nothing” and the young people felt you’ve got to “make the most of what you’ve got.”
The youth auditors highlighted that they enjoy the basketball court as a way to pass time without the use of technology.

4.2.3 What would you change about this space that is easy to do? (Page 9 & 10)
A common change young people want to see is improving the ‘life’ of the basketball court.
The concrete needs leveling because of constant puddles appearing during wet weather which can cause slips and other accidents.
The hoops need replacing which includes the backboards, double rim hoops, and access to the netball hoops to increase the versatility of the space.
The need for a versatile court came from one young person who expressed “I used to come here to practice netball but now I don’t” because of the court only being set up for basketball.
Youth also identified a need for benches as there is an insufficient amount of seating, and the bench that is currently there is inaccessible due to the leaking water fountain creating a “bog” that never dries and attracts wasps during the summer months.
Lighting also came up as there is not enough when it becomes dark. The auditors agreed that it is unsafe at late hours and lighting would significantly improve this.
Signage needs to be added as well as it can be confusing for people to find the space. This could include signs by the gate to the courts or by the corner of the block.

4.2.4 What would you change about this space if you could change
(Page 10)
Better toilets, rubbish bins, and additions of other youth-friendly activities is a recommendation given out by the young people.
Young people want toilets that are closer to the basketball courts as there is no clear path to the nearest toilet block, especially when it rains.
They all mentioned that the toilets are not well lit, and they feel unsafe with one auditor stating, “I feel like I’m gonna die when I go in there”.
The bins are also something that everyone said needs to be changed. Recently, the bin placed near the playground was removed in favour of a smart bin that is placed by the toilet block.
Young people felt that this was the wrong call as it makes no sense for it to be far away from the social hotspot of the park.
Auditors also suggest adding a half-pipe for skateboarders. They felt that not only would it add another activity for youth to enjoy but would improve the overall vibe of the space to make it even more inviting for all youth of Christchurch and would give Shirley a treasure in the area.

4.3.1 Safety (Page 11)
Overall, the youth auditors feel safe when they access the MacFarlane Park basketball courts.
When asked if they feel welcome in the space, it was unanimous from the auditors that they do feel welcome.
However, when it gets dark the general consensus is that young people do not feel safe.
They have attributed this due to the lack of lighting in this space.
The auditors generally came by foot to the space and adequate lighting would drastically change their future sense of safety.

4.3.2 Appeal (Page 11 & 12)
A space is more appealing when young people are able to be engaged in the space.
During the focus group, youth auditors said that the space met their needs and is appealing.
One of the auditors mentioned that even though the space is simply a park, ifs they went without bringing anything they would still be able to enjoy their time.
The main use of the space is obviously the basketball court, so they are aware they need to bring a basketball or netball to use the courts.
The first improvement would be to resurface the basketball court. In its current state, young people have mentioned the impracticality that it brings.
The court could also be redesigned to add lines to be used for other ball sports to make the space more versatile and appealing to a wider range of youth.
Other recommendations that arose were to replace the basketball hoops with interchangeable hoops that can also be used for netball.
One auditor mentioned how in the past this was possible, but these hoops were removed and can no longer be changed.
Fixing the water fountain and installing benches will also help improve the appeal of the space as the water is currently leaving a puddle that never dries.

4.3.3 Accessibility (Page 12)
Young people commented that the space is easily accessible to the general public due to its central location in the neighbourhood and it acts as a hub for the community.
The location is close to other spaces that young people go to such as The Palms Mall, Shirley Library, shops, and their homes.
The space is surrounded with a number of bus stops that connect to the main lines like the Orbiter.
The main comment for improvement is that the space needs more clear signage to help non-locals find their way.
The recommendation of resurfacing the concrete arose again due to the concrete by the entrance of the space being prone to puddles that inhibits access.
They also raised the issue of a lack of safe spaces to leave their bikes and scooters.

4.3.4 Well-Resourced (Page 13)
The youth auditors said that the space lacks some basic resources such as bins, benches, and a proper path to the toilets.
The most direct path is going through the grass, and this is an issue during wet weather with mud building up that can cause slipping.
Even during daylight hours, the toilets are dark, and youth feel unsafe to use them.
They are in bad condition due to their uncleanliness and general atmosphere.
Youth feel that the space is close to shops where they can access food and they do not mind the walk to these shops.

4.3.5 Youth-Friendly (Page 13 & 14)
The youth auditors talked about how MacFarlane Park and the basketball courts have a real Shirley vibe, “we are a low income kinda area and so it’s not posh”.
Shirley is basic but has a very community-oriented and connected vibe.
Youth and other residents will always bump into people they know.
Changes that the youth auditors identified were to introduce a skate ramp, like a half-pipe where youth and other residents can use their skateboards and scooters to complement the basketball court and playground.
For artists, auditors suggested a mural wall similar to the giant spray cans at the Youth Space on the corner of Lichfield and Manchester Street where youth can showcase their talents and give them a canvas where they would be allowed to do so.

5. Recommendations (Page 14-16)
5.1 Revamp the Basketball Court
In its current state, the court is prone to puddles and is not being used to its full potential due to the fading lines and inability to swap between the basketball hoops and netball hoops.
5.2 Add Lighting to the Space
The space drastically needs lightning to improve its overall safety and accessibility to all hours of the day, not just for youth, but all users of the space.
5.3 Increase Signage
The space may be familiar to Shirley youth, but youth from other areas will struggle to find the space.
5.4 Improve the Amenities of the Space
Changes could look like: Adding more benches, Fixing the water fountain, Improving the bathroom (e.g., cleaning, lightning, dedicated pathway), Adding a bin closer to the space & Adding bike and scooter stands/
5.5 Introduce New Activities
Changes could look like: Adding a skate park, Adding a half-pipe & Adding an art wall and area for graffiti art.