Time is running out to contribute to an urban design framework

Commentators have until 19 August to comment on an Australian urban design protocol being developed by the federal government’s Major Cities Unit, in partnership with industry and state and territory governments.

The Major Cities Unit said the protocol’s aim is to encourage world-class urban design and architecture by establishing a framework for its practice and delivery.

It will complement urban design guidelines already used by many jurisdictions by providing a national framework as a point of reference, peer-reviewed guidance on best practice, a toolkit on urban design concepts, and a range of case study examples, the unit said in a media statement.

The initial framework has been drafted by an editorial board of state government architects, representatives from state planning departments and the Australian Local Government Association, urban design professionals and academics.

The protocol stems from an agreement by the Council of Australian Governments in 2009 between each of the states and territories to undertake reforms in each  capital city’s  strategic planning systems “to ensure Australian cities are globally competitive, productive, sustainable, livable and socially inclusive and are well placed to meet future challenges and growth”.

There is also a recognition that regional cities can benefit by sharing best practice knowledge and encouraging better quality planning and design of the built environment.

Of the nine criteria listed in the COAG agreement, the protocol will specifically address criterion 8: “To encourage world-class urban design and architecture”.

The protocol will identify a common language for urban design, and provide a framework to define, implement, measure and improve best practice to deliver on COAG’s criterion.

The premise is that urban design occurs across all parts of a city, from the inner city to the middle suburbs and outer metropolitan fringe and that it is relevant from the largest to the smallest scale developments, from shopping malls and office blocks, to university campuses, urban infill projects and new suburban developments.

“Our Cities, Our Future: a national urban policy for a productive sustainable and livable future” is the Federal Government’s strategic policy document for the 18 major cities of Australia.

See http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure/mcu/urbanpolicy/index.aspx

It describes the role of the Australian Government in ensuring better outcomes in cities, whether through direct investment or in partnership with key stakeholders, including COAG, local governments, industry, community and academia.

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