The power of place: Australians and the heart of our communities
Gathering together remains an important part of the cultural makeup of Australia, however, the place in which community is found has evolved. Australians are living post-pandemic and since COVID-19 and its effects, community gathering places and their importance has shifted.
The Park or Sports Ground: The heart of community
The community park or sports ground holds the greatest importance as a gathering place, with 53% of Australians considering it the primary hub for community interaction. This is followed by the local pub or club (45%), the local shopping centre (44%), the local community centre (43%) and the local school (33%). Since Australians experienced periods of lockdown during the pandemic, the renewed recognition of local community spaces and their enduring significance has become even more apparent.
For 31%, the facility of a local community group (e.g. Scouts hall, PCYC) is the most important gathering place in their community, while for others it is the workplace (29%) or a local church (29%).
While the park or sports ground takes precedence for most Australians, the local pub or club is the most important gathering place for Gen Z. For 46% of Gen Z, the local pub or club holds the greatest significance, highlighting the importance of socialising and leisure activities for this younger generation.
The local shopping centre is also an important gathering place, particularly for Australia’s older generations (50% Baby Boomers see it as the most important gathering place, compared to 45% Gen X, 41% Gen Y and 41% Gen Z).
Workplace Connections: more than work for young Aussies
The workplace has emerged as more than just a site for professional endeavours. It is also an important gathering place where social connections are forged and nurtured, particularly for young Australians. Gen Z are more likely to view the workplace as the most important gathering place in their community (37% Gen Z compared to 34% Gen Y, 28% Gen X and 18% Baby Boomers). Not just a gathering place but too a place to build and nurture social relationships, young Aussies are more likely to experience meaningful and regular social connections in their workplace. More than two in five Gen Z (42%) and Gen Y (38%) have fulfilling and ongoing social connections at their workplace compared to their older counterparts (33% Gen X and 16% Baby Boomers).
Meaningful social connections part of the communal experience
Community is not just a place, but also a fulfilling experience. Australians experience meaningful and regular social connection predominately in their household (47%), followed by the local neighbourhood (40%) and the workplace (32%). Gen X are the most likely to say they experience meaningful and regular social connection at home (53%) compared to 44% of Gen Z, 46% Gen Y and 44% Baby Boomers. After the household, it is the local neighbourhood that Australians (40%) turn to for meaningful and regular community. This is particularly the case for Baby Boomers, as it is where almost half (47%) experience regular social interactions (compared to 32% Gen Z, 41% Gen Y, 38% Gen X).
These gathering hubs exemplify the evolving landscape of community meeting places in Australia. While parks and sports grounds have emerged as the most important hubs for community interactions, other settings, such as local pubs or clubs, workplaces, and neighbourhoods, play pivotal roles in nurturing social connections.