Right to the Night

Team 337, GovHack 2018

Neroli Sawyer, Ben Sturmfels & Tamara van Noort

The Right to the Night project was launched by the City of Ballarat and partners, and ran between February and May 2018. Residents were asked to describe how safe they feel in the CBD.

Project video

The project used a map-based survey tool to collect contributions online. In total there were 302 participants.

During the GovHack weekend, we've been placing context around these contributions and putting a human face to their stories. Specifically, we were seeking to answer two questions:

  1. What is it that makes people feel safe or unsafe?
  2. How can we improve their sense of safety?
Gender profile the survey respondents
Age profile the survey respondents
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) profile the survey respondents
What made respondents feel safe?
What made respondents feel unsafe?


There was a clear pattern of people feeling safe along Lydiard Street near the Gallery, Cinema and bars, especially towards the Mair Street end here. The green dots show submissions from people feeling safe and the darker hexagons show the the areas where more submissions were made. The Armstrong Street restaurant strip also had a positive response, as well as the bars and cafes on Doveton Street corner of Mair Street and the Town Hall precinct on Sturt Street.

Overview of safe submissions in the Ballarat CBD
Close-up of safe submissions on Lydiard Street
Safe respondent comments


In terms of people feeling unsafe, the major hotspot was around Little Bridge Street and the car park between Grenville Street South and Peel Street South shown here. We also have lesser cluster of submissions around the car park behind the Ballarat Library and Civic Hall off Armstrong Street. Another interesting area was around the Ballarat Base Hospital where we had healthcare workers reporting they felt unsafe walking to their cars, and there's some interesting patterns going around here where it looks like they were walking back to their cars.

Overview of unsafe submissions in the Ballarat CBD
Close-up of unsafe submissions in the Little Bridge Street car park area
Close-up of unsafe submissions on the Armstrong Street car park behind the library and Civic Hall
Close-up of unsafe submissions on Drummond Street around Ballarat Base Hospital
Unsafe respondent comments

We also overlayed City of Ballarat's graffiti data shown here in orange, cctv (navy), car parking (maroon), trees (blue), public toilet datasets (aqua) and bollard lighting (yellow). We found a relationship between some of these and our safety data but not others, and this is worth further investigation.

CCTV cameras and graffiti on City of Ballarat property
Trees, car parking, public lighting and public toilets in Ballarat CBD
Quote by Cr Des Hudson
Neroli, Tamara and Ben participating in GovHack 2018 at Ballarat Tech School

"It's been an extraordinarily challenging and interesting weekend delving into all these set of public data. Our hope is that we've been able to contribute something positive to our local community."

Sources and refererences

Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes video