Founded as a result of the devastating loss of an 8-month-old girl named Olivia, the Touched by Olivia Foundation aims to positively enhance the lives of children and their families. Aligning with this mission, AECOM volunteered professional services equivalent to US$115,000 in order to help the organization develop Livvi’s Place, a playground designed to provide all children — including those with physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities and disorders — with a safe and comfortable place to play.

Long-term community benefits will include understanding and acceptance, opportunities for interaction between children of all abilities, as well as a much-needed community facility where all families can meet, socialize and celebrate.

While managing a challenging cost and procurement framework — including forecasting and adjusting for incoming funds and constant budget fluctuations, ensuring spending met funding requirements, and revising procurement processes to manage paid and unpaid resources — various AECOM specialists contributed by reviewing the project design, developing the concept, and preparing tender and construction documentation.

“Despite some setbacks such as having to remediate 165 tons of asbestos-contaminated soil at the site, the project was ultimately successful,” said Jo Blackmore, principal landscape architect, design planning. “At launch, local dignitaries including several members of Parliament and community leaders attended. We were proud to be recognized at the event and in local publications that covered the launch in detail.”

As an endorsement of the exceptional work done to provide inclusive public spaces for people of all abilities, Livvi’s Place was awarded the Premier’s People’s Choice Award at the 2013 New South Wales (NSW) Landscape Architecture Awards. Landing the top spot ahead of five other finalists, the playground was recognized as an addition to Sydney’s landscape that has done the most to make the city more liveable.

“Over 3000 people are making use of Livvi’s Place each week,”said Rebecca Ho,Touched By Olivia’s Executive Officer. “To see a public space prove so popular — and to now be recognized as such by the public — is reflective of our hard work as well as the ongoing support from City of Ryde, our corporate partners like AECOM and our many other supporters.”

The project also won the 2013 NSW Minister for Planning and Infrastructure’s Sydney Greenspace Award.

Click here to listen to a short podcast on this project