Sensory maps launch at five more Stockland retail centres

4 min
18 October 2023

Stockland is improving accessibility across a further five town centres with the launch of the second stage of its sensory map roll-out at Townsville, Rockhampton, Hervey Bay, Burleigh Heads in Queensland, and Glendale in New South Wales.

Developed alongside Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect), sensory maps are a simple way to identify areas where there are potentially overwhelming sensory experiences and suggest where to find quieter, calmer areas. They give customers with sensory processing differences an opportunity to plan ahead before visiting new environments, allowing them to better navigate different levels of sensitivity across sound, lighting, smell and noise.

Stockland is the first property company to create sensory maps for its town centres in Australia. They are now available at 11 of Stockland’s town centres nationally, with the first maps made available to customers at Stockland’s centres in Shellharbour, Merrylands, Green Hills, Wetherill Park, Point Cook, and Wendouree.

Stockland’s Executive General Manager, Town Centres, Michelle Abbey said feedback from the first stage of sensory maps has been positive in helping many customers plan their journey through the centre.

“We understand that a number of our customers either live with or care for someone with sensory differences. Our work with Aspect over the past few years has allowed us to better understand how we can support our customers and, following the success of our first launch, we know that these maps have played a huge role in making the planning of shopping journeys much easier,” said Ms Abbey.

“We’re proud to continue making our centres more accessible and inclusive, where people of all backgrounds and abilities can come together to play, work, shop and socialise. We look forward to rolling out sensory maps across all centres over the next few years.”

According to Aspect, it’s estimated that there are 1 in 70 people in Australia are on the autism spectrum and have sensory differences.

Aspect’s Chief Executive Officer, Jacqui Borland said these new sensory maps are a testament to Stockland’s shared commitment to inclusion and understanding.

“Shopping centres can be busy, noisy, and bright, all of which can be stressful and overwhelming for some people on the autism spectrum,” said Ms Borland.

“The sensory maps developed with Aspect Autism Friendly as one part of a comprehensive model give customers sensory information about what to expect, reducing anxiety and supporting coping. We are proud to be working with Stockland and we encourage shops to join us in our mission to make Australia autism friendly.”

The Sensory Maps are available under the Services tab on the individual centre websites.

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