WINTER 2019THE AGENDA
v0l. 59 no. 2PIA Journal of Queensland and the Northern Territory
virtual VISIONS OF SOCIAL
reality THE FUTURE MEDIA
September 11 - 13 2019
2 the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2
in this issue
04 06 08
President’s message VR for consultation Social media & park use
- Wendy Evans - Sean Byster-Bowler - Montannia Chabau-
Gibson and Jesse
10 16 Raneng
Visions of the future Lessons from congress Next generation
- Urban design students - Urban planning
Rising stars Darwin city deal Regional young planners
- Ethos urban - Steve O’Connor - QYP
Q&A with Nikki Huddy
Editorial committee: Editor: PIA Queensland
Christopher Austin Matthew Leman Communications Advisor:
Julie Brook Cover image:
David Fagan Surfers Paradise, Gold
Rachel Jones Coast, Martin Garred
John Van As
the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2 3
Written by Wendy Evans MPIA (Fellow),
PIA Qld President
Dear colleagues, the President of the Commonwealth
Association of Planners, but also the Co-
First and foremost, I’d like to give a chair of a new United Nations Habitat
massive ‘thank you’ to everyone that Stakeholder Advisory Group. Dy should
helped make PIA’s 2019 congress so stand as a prompt to everyone that your
successful. skillset can be applied well beyond your
State boarder – and is entirely relevant
Thank you to those who gave your globally.
time to make the event so seamless;
and to those of you who took the For our next generation of town planners,
time to present, look after a stand, or we have been reminded at congress
volunteer in any other way. It was great that you will be tested like all of the
to have such a massive contingent of generations who have gone before you.
attendees there from our home State. You will experience shifting and ongoing
I hope you all enjoyed the event, and pressures together with unpredictable
got as much out of it as I did! changes. You will continue to face rapid
advances in technology that can be an
Secondly, congratulations to all incredible assistance but also a great
of the award winners – especially challenge. Data during your working
those from Queensland. life will be so much more accessible
than it has been in the past. You will
Young planners in Queensland need to embrace it, but also remember
are so incredibly fortunate to manipulate it sensibly and with its
to have access to so many weaknesses top of mind and properly
of the profession, including What I would like to add to our congress
this year’s national Planner learnings, is a suggestion to absolutely
of the Year, Sharon Harwood focus on the forward movement, but
RPIA (Fellow) and Matthew don’t be too proud to look back as
Leman, Queensland Young well. Chances are, even in the modern
Planner of the Year and context you are applying yourselves in
commendation recipient for professionally, an example of a similar
Young Planner of the Year. scenario will be available to you from
years gone by.
On an international level, I
am thrilled to share news with Lessons learned from successes and
you that one of our Fellow failures of the past can only serve to
members and a former assist us all in planning for greatness
national and State president, in the future. Don’t be afraid to access
Dy Currie, is now not only
4 the agenda - autumn 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 1
Fellow and Life Fellow members of the “What is
profession (and if you’re a bit nervous planning?”
about this, look out for forthcoming video:
events where we’ll bring our Yodas of
planning to you). 2019 awards
At this early stage of your careers, don’t
let the pressure get to you – you aren’t in (nominations now open):
it alone (yet!). Enjoy what you’re doing
and be proud of the youth and energy outstanding
you bring to work. You will only know women in
how much your vitality is appreciated planning video
when you’re the senior in the room. And series:
trust me, that sneaks up on you way too
And finally, stand proud of the profession
you have chosen. When asked about
what you do, show people the“PIA –
What is Planning” video (refer to the QR
code to right). It’s a must watch and a
great way of explaining what we do as
What we do – what you do – MATTERS.
It literally affects everyone. So… back to
the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2 5
In the public eye
VR in Community Consultation
Written by Sean Byster-Bowles,
It would be a universally acknowledged The possibilities opened up by gaming
observation that planning, at the best of technology, however, are something planners
times, can be difficult to communicate. To are now clueing onto. For years, virtual reality
start, introducing yourself as a town planner (VR) has been rapidly advancing in capability.
commonly engenders confused looks and Gamers now have the opportunity to be a
an explanation, before a response along the wizard in a mythical, Lord of the Rings-esque
lines of “oh, like SimCity!”. Admittedly, this is world or explore other worlds as the Captain
happening less and less frequently, but as a of the USS Enterprise with nothing but the
naïve planning student, this comment used to assistance of a pair of goggles.
drive me up the wall. At that time, it seemed Now, I don’t claim to be reinventing the
like it trivialised the profound impact planning wheel here. Already, a small handful of local
can have on everyone’s daily lives. But maybe entrepreneurs are lending their planning
this is something to capitalise on, rather than experience to this technology, offering
shy away from. renderings of development proposals to
After spending the better part of a year communicate how they’ll look on the ground,
answering to the community, working in a and experimenting with augmented reality
local government planning enquiries team, it (AR). The idea is, if the design is presented in a
became clear to me that communicating what way that people can visualise and interact with,
we do as planners, and why we do it, is no easy it’s likely to soothe opposition to the proposal.
task. As a profession, we rely heavily on jargon But what if this same approach wwas taken
which, while seemingly obvious to us planners, to public consultation sessions for draft
may not have the same meaning to the planning schemes? Rather than engaging
communities we represent. A perfect example the community using zoning maps and
is “density”. To us it’s a metric to measure the building height overlays (the jelly scenario),
number of people residing in a set area, but why not engage the community with a virtual
in the highly politicised arena of the outside environment that shows exactly what the vision
world, density can be spoken about as if it’s for their neighbourhood is?
something akin to the urban bogeyman.
Even something so seemingly simple as What’s more, this technology allows for a
“building height” can be difficult to articulate greater level of interactivity with the planning
– not for the concept itself, but in terms of how process. What does an increase in residential
it fits with the vision of a planning scheme and density per lot look like? What does an extra
the community as a whole. It gets even more floor of building height really mean for shadow
difficult when you bring in the variables of effects? What effect does high frequency
performance-based planning schemes. I can’t public transport have on problems of traffic
count the number of times I’ve had to attempt congestion and parking? These questions have
the complex conversation of performance the potential to be posed and answered in
outcomes to someone who (understandably) real-time VR that shows the community exactly
wants to know why the new apartment what variations in different land use parameters
building on their x-boundary could exceed the would look like in the real world.
nominated building height of y storeys. The possibilities for VR in planning are endless.
For years, planners have attempted to have this Much like the interactive mapping systems
conversation through bold vision statements, we all rely on today, the next generation of
wordy strategic frameworks, and maps. Yet I planners will no doubt struggle to think of a
think anyone in planning would agree; trying time before the daily reliance on gaming tech.
to articulate the vision for a city through a Undoubtedly, the furthest reaching impact of
zoning map is much like nailing jelly to a wall. this technology is its potential to transform
As planners, we get it; a pocket of centre how planners engage in dialogue with the
zone and high-density residential over here community. Our credibility as a profession
is a no brainer for apartments and mixed-use depends on our ability to communicate what we
development, and gee, wouldn’t that be a spot do, and the lasting impacts of both good and
for some light rail. But ultimately, we haven’t bad planning. If we struggle to communicate
had the resources to sufficiently visualise what that vision for the city on paper, doesn’t it seem
that means for the residents who live there. As like high time we began exploring other ways
a result, we typically lose out on the sales pitch. to visualise it instead?
6 the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2
Our credibility as a
profession depends on our
ability to communicate
what we do, and the lasting
impacts of both good and
the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2 7
Assessing park use through
the lens of social media
Written Montannia Chabau-Gibson
and Jesse Raneng, Griffith University,
Environmental Future Research Institute
New directions by spatial and temporal scale, cost, and data, and that data can be used to gain
What drives innovation? Is it when an can attract a weighted bias. As such, a new insights about human geography.
individual is faced with a reoccurring more diverse participatory framework is
problem, or is it the desire to discover required, and engagement processes Increased engagement with internet
new insights? Regardless of the must aim to contact people that don’t subscriptions has resulted in a space
motivation, it is important to display often participate due to their differences, for ‘connected’ communities to arise
and communicate new insights. PIA’s disadvantages, or barriers. and converse about their sentiments
Innovation Showcase provides an
opportunity for students to present new The moment someone engages with
findings and receive recommendations social media, their uploaded content
from leading professionals. becomes data
In 2018, we were grateful to receive first Social media as a database and values towards urban and natural
place at PIA’s Innovation Showcase for The Internet can transform us. The environments. Data collection from
our innovative approach to obtaining moment someone engages with social popular photo-sharing sites such as Flickr,
participatory data from the public. In this media, their uploaded content becomes has the potential to return immense
article we provide a summary of what we spatial and temporal information from
presented, and what the future holds for
Assessing sociocultural dimensions
Traditional methods used to assess
sociocultural dimensions can be limited
8 the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2
publically available photos. A brief The aim of our research was to determine and Temporal Patterns of Use:
summary of the benefits and limitations how social media data derived from Investigating What Makes Cities
of conducting this form of research is Flickr can be used to learn about the Aesthetically Popular? Author:
provided below. sociocultural values of open areas in Jesse Raneng
cities. These results explored information 2. Preparing Public Participation
Benefits regarding visitor’s recreational activities, for the Digital Age: Social Media
• Publically available social media temporal and spatial data, and the Reactions about an Iconic Species.
popular areas located on the Spit, Gold Author: Montannia Chabau-Gibson
data is generally free, fast, plentiful, Coast (refer to Figure 1.0). The data also
and already exists displayed that the most popular times
• The metadata source is continuously to take images of the Spit, Gold Coast
growing which was sunrise and sunset, as well
• The data is harnessed from as mid-afternoon. Furthermore, this
conversations already commencing research provided a basis for how social
• Data is from a diverse range of media data extraction could be utilised
cultures and age demographics
The data is harnessed from Montannia Chabau- Jesse Raneng
conversations already commencing Gibson
Limitations as a complementary data source for
• Will only sample individuals using traditional engagement methods.
the chosen database What’s next?
• Online behaviour could be The results of our research will be
published shortly, and presented at
represented differently offline the 9th international conference on
• The research can be difficult, and monitoring and management of visitors
in recreational and protected areas in
requires a unique skillset to analyse. France.
Case study: Assessing the sociocultural Meanwhile, we’re both completing our
values of the Spit, City of Gold Coast honours thesis’ under the supervision of
The Spit is a popular multifaceted Prof. Catherine Pickering, the research is
coastal landscape, which is utilised daily outlined below:
by tourists and locals. The use and value 1. Using Social Media to Assess Spatial
of this location has been a hot topic for
debate, with pressure for open spaces to
the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2 9
Visions of the
Prepared by Queensland University of
Technology (QUT) students,
coordinated by Mirkio Guaralda
In April 2019, The Agenda asked several
of QUT’s urban design students a simple
question. We asked ‘what will the future of
Australian cities look like, and why?’. The
following pages show their responses.
KAZI LAMIA ALAM
In the future, space will infuse
with technology to build spaces
that shit in shape according to
I’ve designed a form that will alter
its shape as the user needs.
If the user requires more open
green space, it will provide more
open green space. If the user
requires enclosed, quiet and
colourful space to work, it will
provide that. It will be a modern
space merged with technology.
This concept is a step to the
10 the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2
Lucas Stammes NEX
I believe that the future of In answ
Australian cities lies within its future of
evolution of sustainable and
efficient urban ontology, where of sus
prioritized circulation exists. where
Where the term ‘concrete
jungles’ is taken from dense term ‘
urban scapes and creatively urban
ameliorated, to prove viable for prove via
us developed humans to live in and m
and maintain our surroundings. cities
The future of cities takes influence trees; th
from the systems of jungles and tation, r
rainforests, where buildings are and pe
trees; that merely support the these ‘
growth of vegetation, rather than
replacing, and the vehicular and
pedestrian movement are the
roots of these ‘trees’ providing
life to its environment.
DAH 525 - Architecture and the City
Lucas Stammes - N9942131
DAH525 Architecture and the city Traffic congestion has now 11
become an important issue
Hui Li, n10310126 facing Australian cities, and
this vision is about creating
Next generation vertical traffic that separates
pedestrians from cars.
Take the vision of the Brisbane city as an example.Traﬃc congesson has
now become one of the important issues facing Australian ciies, and this The city has a system of tunnels
vision is about creaang verrcal traﬃc that separates pedestrians from car to move pedestrians and cars.
dealers. The city has a system of tunnels, shipping, pedestrians, and dealers. Public transport can be safe
Public transport can be located away from the ground ,safe and eﬃcient, and efficient, located away from
and solar charging staaons are located at intervals. Students and workers the ground with solar charging
stations located at regular
intervals. Students and workers
can walk directly to school and
their workplaces by walking,
cycling or scootering.
the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2
Rebecca pear NEXT GENERATION
This drawing represents the skyline of Brisbane
City and what other modern cities around the
country will look like in the future. The urban
morphology of cities will remain the same but will
be more focused on aesthetics through the use
In order to provide the illusion of sustainability,
developers design highly condensed mundane
buildings surrounded by flora to enforce the
illusion. By doing so, people believe they are living
a sustainable lifestyle, which in today’s society,
increases housing prices and provides developers
with more profit. By visually promoting the idea of
sustainability, the number of residents increases.
This drawing represents the skyline of Brisbane city in Australia and what other modern cities around the country
will look like in the future. The urban morphology of cities will remain the same but will be more focused on the
aesthetics through the use of greenery. In order to provide the illusion of sustainability, developers design highly
condensed mundane buildings surrounded by flora to enforce the illusion. By doing so, people will believe that
they are living a sustainable lifestyle, which in today’s society, increases housing prices and provides developers
with more profit. By visually promoting the idea of sustainability, the number of residents increase.
DAH525 Architecture and The City | Rebecca Pear | N9709533
In a busy street such as Adelaide in
Brisbane City that is dominated by
motorised vehicles, it’s difficult to support
the development of a sense of place.
In a future where Australia is putting
its people and sustainability at the
forefront of its design, city streets will be
transformed into safe, thick places. Roads
will be replaced with shared zones, with the
allowance of only trams and cyclists where
vehicles will travel below the surface.
It will turn Australian streets into vibrant
and interesting places charged with
emotional meaning and filled with people
generating a sense of place.
12 the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2
Lessons from It’s not about planning
#piacongress19 for traditional owners,
it’s about planning with
- Ed Wensing, ANU
TOURISM IS THE FASTEST If developers have to make apartments bigger
to be accessible to people with disabilities,
GROWING INDUSTRY IN THE
should councils let them build bigger
– karmi Palafox, urbis – Richard seidman, IACCESS CONSULTANTS
GONE ARE THE DAYS OF HANGING A DOT PAINTING IN THE FOYER. decisions made
wE NEED TO EMBED INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE IN EVERY STEP OF must not be
used as a
THE PLANNING AND DESIGN PROCESS. scapegoat
- JEFA GREENAWAY, GREENAWAY ARCHITECTS -Trooper Saunders, The
More and more, consumers IF YOU DON’T EMBED URBAN
are curious about the
stories behind products. DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS INTO
They want a remedy to
the homogeneousness INFRASTRUCTURE FROM THE START OF
provided by chain shops and THE PLANNING PROCESS, YOU END UP
WITH LIPSTICK ON A PIG.
- Meredith Hutton, Milton Planning
– Lisa dunlop, Level crossing removal authority
We need to reform plan making cctv doesn’t make women
processes to make sure schemes can
feel safe. it reminds them of
stay relevant and responsive.
what evidence will be used if
– Jennifer Roughan, on plan making under the
Planning Act 2016. something happens to them.
16 the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2 – nicole kalms, Monash university
Prepared by Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
students, coordinated by Karen Vella
In April 2019, The Agenda asked five planing students a
series of questions, to gain an insight into the concerns and
aspirations of the next generation of Australian planners.
Their answers are provided below.
the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2 17
What planning problems I’m interested in how planners can Addressing the imminent reality of
interest you? create better communities and a changing climate and its impact
new living standards for the ageing on the built environment, including
population. urban consolidation strategies.
What’s the single biggest Providing a solution for housing Embracing change; planning
issue facing your supply and affordability while to accommodate and help
generation of planners? still creating vibrant and diverse people adapt to the impending
neighborhoods. changes associated with climate
change, population growth and
What’s the greatest Access to new technology that Our generation has an
opportunity for your allows my generation to tackle unprecedented opportunity to take
generation of planners? wicked problems with a new advantage of available resources
perspective and method. and technological advances to
shape a more sustainable future.
How would you define ‘the I believe home ownership has The typical “great Australian dream”
great Australian dream’? become so difficult that it has taken of suburban home-ownership
over as the new great Australian remains prominent, however
dream to show success and financial Australian cities have since evolved
security. and densified, which may need us to
redefine our “dream”.
What’s your dream job? My current dream job is to work A planning role that facilitates
within local or state government innovation and positive change
18 the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2 planning as a team leader within the community through
coordinating major projects. a variety of projects with an
opportunity for long-term career
I think preserving history and The challenge of thinking of Issues that cannot be solved
breathing new life into a space innovative ideas to create urban overnight, per se. Finding a way to
are both important - it’s all about areas that are sustainable and mitigate problems, while maximising
striking the right balance, which can environmentally friendly to current resources. Planning
be challenging. ultimately combat climate change. problems like space activation and
The ‘battle’ between urban sprawl Climate change, because it’s our Global warming. How can we as
and urban consolidation, and responsibility as planners to ensure planners intervene and contribute to
figuring out what works best for our that our industry is mitigating and better the future through planning?
cities. not contributing to climate change.
The leaps and bounds in technology Technology, as we are exposed Technology and the endless
-and the advances which continue to to more intricate technology my opportunities that come about with
be made- make this a very exciting generation of planners will be able it, like mapping, designing, virtual
time to enter the industry. to design better and help more communication, readily available
people. data and so forth.
I don’t know if there is one specific Having a career that ensures my To me, it’s making something of
dream anymore, much like the family and I are happy and can enjoy myself by giving back to this country,
diversity of Australia these days I all aspects of life. as I have been educated here for
believe the dream is different for almost 10 years, it is only right I do
Any job in the planning field where I would love a long-standing career My dream job is working with no
the work I do has a long-term in either urban planning or project boundaries. I can see myself living in
positive impact on the community. management. one country and travelling to other
countries to learn and work.
the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2 19
Meet the ‘Rising Stars’ of
Sponsored article, written by Ethos Urban
At Ethos Urban, we believe our success is Lucy Bennett, Ciaran Callaghan and Luke challenges that her generation is
built by our people. We focus on creating Ciancio all agree that the big drawcard facing is “the increasing technological
a positive working environment to ensure that attracted them to Ethos Urban was advancements including vehicle
a consistent and committed approach to the opportunities to work on a broad automation, mapping and program
our clients and their projects. range of projects. software. Policy drafting will need to
be forward thinking and innovative to
Our urbanists are the ‘rising stars’ of Since joining, Lucy has worked on consider these complexities.”
Ethos Urban; they work collaboratively numerous interesting and complex
in multidisciplinary teams to gain projects – from development Ciaran agrees and further comments that
experience across a range of significant assessments and development policy “planning policy and frameworks must
urban development projects. Harnessing to social planning and engagement. be well-positioned to adapt and guide
this collective intelligence puts us in a “One of the most exciting projects was response to these challenges. It is also
position to not only deliver on clients’ preparing the development application key that planning policy responds to and
needs and projects, but also shape great for the Mt Coot-tha Zipline, which utilises emerging technologies, which
places that people love. required balanced assessment of can help deliver better information,
ecological, bushfire, visual amenity and understanding and responses, allowing
We are committed to providing our heritage components”. planners to make better decisions that
young planners with ongoing career create more successful and inclusive
development, mentoring with industry Ciaran has gained experience working places.”
leaders and professional networking across a range of complex development
opportunities. We proudly take this projects, coastal hazard adaptation Rebekah is looking forward to seeing
opportunity to introduce our ‘rising stars’ strategies, large-scale infrastructure the response to the “rise of digital
and to share their personal journeys and projects and assisting in appeal matters. technology, the smart cities movement
valuable insights. “I’ve been involved in a variety of and automation”. She is also excited to
projects within Brisbane but have also see how these tech developments are
The breadth and depth of project work been lucky enough to work on projects going to work in a “very process driven
and opportunities at Ethos Urban in Cairns, Longreach, Fraser Coast profession and in turn what the role of a
Rebekah McDonald decided to join and Mackay. I’m grateful that I get to planner will be in 20-30 years.”
Ethos Urban when she saw how different work on a broad range of projects, as
it was to other firms in Queensland it provides me with perspective around Tackling environmental issues through
and Brisbane. “I saw Ethos Urban as an the importance of planning in a variety planning
opportunity to spread my wings and of different contexts.” Today’s generation is faced with a variety
work on a range of different areas in the of challenges and our urbanists identify
planning profession, learning from some Luke emphasises that one of the most the increase of environmental issues as
great people”. rewarding aspects of working at Ethos a critical area that requires our attention.
Urban is “the diversity of, and exposure Having worked on Queensland’s first
Whilst Rebekah has a strong to, complex and interesting projects strategic floodplain management plan
development background, she explains as young planners. I’m grateful for the for the Brisbane River Catchment, Luke
that she has also had the chance to opportunities to work alongside and recognises that our response to climate
work on strategic and social planning learn from some of the profession’s change needs to take a “no regrets”
projects. “One of the great things at greatest minds. We are part of a very approach. He explains that the plan
Ethos Urban is that you’re not boxed high-achieving team who respects “conceptualises a risk-based framework
into doing certain types of work. If you and understands the responsibility of to how we distribute land uses in hazard-
have strengths in an area, you will get the positively shaping our cities and regions affected areas and consider other risk
chance to work on projects that play to and the legacy we leave.” management factors in the planning
those strengths”. process.”
The impact of technology advancements
“You are also encouraged to learn new on the planning industry Luke further says that “a response to
ways of doing things, to learn the skills It is both an exciting yet challenging time these issues demands more robust
and be exposed to those projects. for the millennials entering the industry, policy making and bold governance that
This enables you to become a valuable with the planning problems facing our looks to the long-term – beyond political
resource because you can work across cities and regions becoming more cycles. A climate change response
the many disciplines within the planning complex. that sets mandatory local and state
profession.” renewable targets for the design of our
Lucy believes that one of the biggest built environments and the provision of
20 the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2
its water, energy and land resources is Rebekah McDonald
urgent. Our planning decisions need to Lucy Bennett
be underpinned by regionally consistent Ciaran Callaghan
climate change assumptions about the Luke Ciancio
Rebekah believes that the key to tackling
these environmental issues is additional
education and better understanding.
“Further education of these impacts
and hazards would benefit planners,
so that we can better understand what
risk-based planning is and what we are
going to be faced with in the future. The
key cross collaboration lies between
planners and the specialists in this field,
to understand the science behind it, so
that we can best respond to issues.”
Tips for launching a career in planning
Knowing how to launch your career
can be overwhelming and intimidating,
especially in an industry with many paths
and opportunities. Lucy’s advice to those
wanting to start a career in the planning
profession is “to put your hand up for
anything - you don’t know what area of
planning you really enjoy until you’ve
Ciaran also recommends getting
involved with the Planning Institute
of Australia (PIA). “Their network of
young planners can really help new
graduates with stepping out into the
industry following university. Whether
it’s attending events, signing up for
mentoring or being involved with the
Queensland Young Planners.”
Luke’s advice to new graduates is “not
to be afraid to get involved in all work
opportunities afforded to you. It’s also
important to ask questions and not let
learning opportunities pass you by; be
assertive about those projects you want
to work on.”
“Find yourself one or many mentors –
both within and outside the workplace
and industry. These people will help
you grow your technical skills, cultivate
your interests and realise your potential.
At the same time, be cognisant of the
boundaries you set around work and
strive for a work-life balance.”
Lastly, Rebekah emphasises the
importance of not turning down
experiences. “Don’t say no to an
opportunity because it might not fit
in the box of what you thought you
would do. Any experience you get will
be invaluable to your career, regardless
of the size of the firm. Take every
opportunity that comes your way – if has
to be unpaid work then do it.”
To find out more information about
our current career opportunities, go to
AND THE NEWCASTLE
Written by Steve O’Connor, PIA National President
and Director, Member NSW Independent Planning
Commission, and Partner KDC Pty Ltd
22 the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2
I recently had the opportunity to visit Darwin revitalise the city centre. It will see iconic
and deliver a presentation comparing the city education and civic precincts constructed within
centre of Darwin to the city centre of Newcastle. the city centre and the injection of over $97
In this article I draw on some of the key learnings million in Commonwealth Government funding.
from the transition happening in Newcastle
and reflect on the promise of the City Deal for By 2028 it’s anticipated that the education
Darwin. I’ve had the opportunity to live and precinct will accommodate over 11,700 students,
work in both cities and believe there are several 600 staff and house around 1,000 students. The
similarities between the two, and lessons to Northern Territory Government and Darwin
be learnt about government investment in key City Council are major financial sponsors of the
infrastructure projects. project, contributing land and infrastructure.
I’ve had the opportunity to live and work in both cities
and believe there are several similarities between the
Both the Newcastle and Darwin city centres are Conclusion
situated in waterfront locations adjacent to busy The injection of government funding via the
ports. Both cities have had a long reliance on Darwin City Deal will assist in the establishment
natural resource projects and have experienced of an inner city campus for Charles Darwin
the boom and bust cycles associated with the University, with the aim of reinvigorating the
mining industry. Darwin City Centre. The concept of renewing a
declining city centre by introducing an education
In recent years both city centres have been in precinct, is an initiative which is underway in
decline as air-conditioned, big box shopping Newcastle and is one of the key elements of the
centres have been established in more Launceston City Deal.
geographically central locations in closer
proximity to the majority of the population. In the case of Newcastle, there has been a
corresponding investment from the private
Consequently, both city centres have been sector immediately following government
searching for a way to revitalise and reinvent investment announcements. In the past 3 years,
themselves. some 3,700 new dwellings have been applied
both city centres have been searching for a way to
revitalise and reinvent themselves.
Newcastle City Centre for in the Newcastle City Centre. Together with
There has been a major government investment development applications for commercial, retail,
in recent years in the Newcastle city centre in the education and other related land uses, this
form of the reintroduction of light rail. The NSW amounts to a potential investment of $1.5 billion.
government has invested $650m in a new light
rail transport system within the city centre. At the If the experience in Newcastle city centre can be
same time a joint investment by the Australian translated to the Darwin City Centre, then the
and NSW governments and the University of City Deal will be a catalyst for the transformation
Newcastle has seen a major upgrade of the of the Darwin City Centre over the coming
university’s inner city campus. Stage one of this decade.
investment (valued at $90m) has seen 5,000
students now frequenting the city centre on a
Development applications have been lodged
for additional university buildings including an
innovation hub and student accommodation
valued at over $400m.
Since these projects were announced in
2014, the private sector has responded with
increased investment – in 2013/4 the total value
of development approvals in Newcastle was
approximately $500 million, while in 2017/8 they
rose to $1.5 billion.
Darwin City Deal
The Darwin City Deal is a 10-year plan to
the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2 23
regional Stacey Mills,
PROFILES You’ve been working in a regional area for a
year. What challenges and opportunities do you
Prepared by the Queensland Young Planners (QYP) think a young planner would face in the regions?
Check out the full interviews, and more, on the You get out what you put in, which could never
Queensland Young Planners Facebook page be truer than when you move to somewhere
@qldyoungplannersgroup. new. The opportunities for a young planner in
the regions are great. I secured a senior strategic
24 the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2 planning position shortly after moving which
consequently created an opportunity for a new
strategic planner from Brisbane to join our team.
Working in a regional location also allows you
to move laterally in your career. At Council,
colleagues have also moved into other roles
with water planning, economic development
and project management providing greater
opportunities for professional development and
Meeting new people can be a challenge, so you
must be willing to put yourself out there. Mackay
is fortunate to have a young professionals
social group which, in their words, is “focused
on connections; education and community”. I
would encourage any new planner to reach out
to groups such as these to help make those initial
You’ve worked in the public and private sector
across South-East Queensland, South Australia
and now Mackay. What learnings can you pass on
from your experiences?
It’s safe to say that I’m not averse to change,
which has its benefits and challenges. Every
career choice I’ve made, and every re-location
(including two interstate moves) had a purpose
and a goal.
The best learning experiences I can pass on are
1. Don’t be afraid to take a chance. If you
want to get experience in a new project
or different area, first ask if there are any
upcoming opportunities through your
current role. If not, if it’s something you really
want to pursue, work out a way to make it
happen. That might mean taking on a new
role or volunteering to get experience.
Don’t be afraid to have an open and honest
conversation with your employer about the
plans they have for you before you make any
2. Don’t leave a role or employer too early.
Before you move on, make sure you’re
doing it for the right reasons and you’ve
given yourself enough time to settle into
a place. Really think about why you want
to leave (is it new responsibilities, different
career direction, career progression etc.) and
make sure you’ll have those opportunities
wherever you’re going. The last thing you
Ryan Cheng, Declan Cox,
You’ve worked in the public and private sector Why did you move from the Sunshine Coat to
in South East Queensland, coming from a city Rockhampton?
background and now working at a regional
council. What are some benefits you’ve gained I wanted to start gaining experience in the
from working in a regional council? planning profession as soon as I finished my
university studies, and coming from a semi-
A benefit of working for a smaller regional regional background already, I thought starting
council is the opportunity to work on a range of my career in a regional environment could be
different projects and gain experience in strategic interesting. I believe a change of environment
and statutory planning, as well as planning always brings new opportunities and challenges.
This is my third year as a planner in Rockhampton
Another advantage is the opportunity to take and I’ve learned a lot about practical planning
care of a project from the start to finish. Starting issues and have gained a working knowledge of
at providing advice to applicants, to assessing surveying and drafting.
their application, drafting and formalising
development conditions, and finishing with Working in a regional environment offers
compliance inspections. great experiences and responsibilities that you
wouldn’t get working for a firm in a larger city.
What myths about planning in regional You are certainly not locked into urban DA’s all
Queensland would you like to dispel? the time.
People always ask me, what really happens at Where do you get your inspiration from?
your council? Are there any developments that
happen there? Generally I say to them, yes, there The large range of clients I have interacted with
are developments and yes we face similar issues have provided me with a range of planning
and problems as big cities. challenges that reinforces my career choice. I’ve
also been involved in the Queensland Young
If you could send one message to any young Planners committee where I currently hold a
planners looking to progress their career, what regional representative role to advocate for
would it be? regional opportunities and develop professional
relationships with a variety of planning
Don’t be afraid to take the plunge and go for professionals. I would urge other young planners
it. Sometimes opportunities are too good to be to get involved too.
I would say that being part of a committee has
You’ve been working in a regional area for a its perks, with access 20 members and their
while now, what do you think are some of the networks. Each meeting I attend continues to
opportunities and constraints young planners inspire me, particularly seeing what others are
should take into consideration when working trying to achieve, and in turn, I strive to achieve
and living in the regions? more too.
Some great opportunities working in a regional If you could send one message to any young
Council is the ability to work with associated planners looking to progress their career, what
planning fields such as with building surveyors, would it be?
engineers and ecologists as we all work under
one department, it is easy to get advice when Young planners should be open minded about
needed and you are more likely to be exposed to where to begin their career and not limit
different types of work, tasks and experience. themselves to one location when they first seek
employment. Queensland has such a diverse
What challenges have you experienced working range of regions and councils that provide
in a regional area? great planning opportunities and any graduate
should take advantage of that by expanding
I think a major challenge for planning in their job searches to outside of the South East
Queensland is the emphasis planning policy Queensland area.
legislation has on urban areas and large cities. A
solution that works in the city does not mean it
will work in a rural area.
the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2 25
pia qld outstanding woman in planning
award recipient 2019
What does planning utopia look like to you?
Planning utopia would be where people know and live their values. The community could articulate expectations and
vision and the government would listen.
Do you have a favourite place because of its planning?
Canberra! Having lived in Canberra during construction of the new parliament house, there was a lot of everyday talk
about how the city was planned. There’s an order to the early planned suburbs that gives me a great sense of calm.
What’s your favourite nerdy planning activity?
I’m fascinated by backgrounds. Backgrounds of photos, movies, news stories, YouTube clips, tv shows, etc. I look
at the streetscapes, facades, ceiling heights and furniture. I’m interested in the detail that fills our lives, streets and
What is Queensland planning’s greatest weakness?
Queensland’s greatest weakness is the continuous change to planning legislation in 1936, 1990, 1997, 2009 and 2017.
In contrast the UK has had new planning legislation in 1947 and 1990. The continuous change of legislation:
• results in a disheartening amount of time spent fathoming the new system;
• does not translate to substantially better outcomes on the ground; and
• the increasingly prescriptive nature of planning is dumbing down our community and ourselves as planners.
How can we plan for the next generation?
We live in a world where technology changes so quickly that we’re planning for aspects of the future we don’t actually
It’s a good time to simplify prescriptive planning that often seems to be for the sake of it, rather than for an improved
outcome. Simplifying the planning process gives planners, elected representatives, communities and developers
time and money to spend on making great places. Imagine the quality of the places we live in, if we as planners could
spend more time on local plans than interpreting changes to legislation.
26 the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2
What’s the best advice you’ve received as a planner?
Within my first few month of working at Douglas Shire Council, Brad Sully told me “you cannot change the world with
a duplex”. I quote it regularly. It’s a reminder to back off a little bit – there’s no need to go crazy with expectations
Gold plated standards don’t necessarily result in better outcomes and they’re likely to result in unnecessary expense
What do you wish you could tell your younger self?
Being a generalist is a skill not a weakness. Planners aren’t failed architects, landscape architects, engineers or
surveyors. The ability to work across many disciplines and the ability to think strategically are wonderful skills (and not
as common as you’d think). We as planners bring a lot to the table, the workplace and the community.
What advice do you have for our young planners?
Keep learning. Social media makes it easy to stay up-to-date on great ideas and outcomes from around the world.
It takes time to curate a news feed of things that interest you – just like it takes time to make a great playlist. If you’re
not sure where to start, I recommend the Smart Communities Podcast, and social media feeds from CityLab, the Dirt
and Planetizen, as well as a bit of healthy online stalking of our leading planners to see who they follow.
What do you wish you knew before you started your planning degree?
I wish someone had told me that planning was a career and I could study planning. I was exceptional at geography
in high school, yet planning was never mentioned as a career. I stumbled across planning in the last semester of
my Environmental Science Degree at Griffith University. At that time, you could only study planning at the University
of Queensland (UQ) or the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), so I did a Graduate Diploma in Urban and
Regional Planning at QUT.
How has your perception of planning changed between when you were a young planner and now?
Planning has changed from principles to benchmarks. Looking back at the Planning & Environment Act 1991, planning
had a greater weight on the principles and outcomes. The Planning Act 2017 has moved more towards regulation,
yet we have not delivered a better system and we most definitely haven’t delivered an exceptionally better system.
Planning is, and has to be, more than regulation. I am sure that all of us planners went to university to make a
contribution to our environment, economy and community.
What needs to change, to support young women in planning?
It’s a great honour to be awarded the Queensland Outstanding Woman in Planning award. It’s led me to reflect on
the last 25 years of my career. In that time:
• the number of male and female graduates has remained about 50% male, 50% female;
• we’ve seen the introduction of work from home policies, flexible work hours and paternity leave; and
• women have continued to be well-represented in PIA.
It seems our profession and the workplace has continued to evolve and provide good support not just to women,
but for families.
the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2 27
What needs to change to encourage more young planners to the regions?
There was a time when planning was only taught at UQ and QUT. It’s now taught at many more universities, including
regional universities. Regional access to planning courses is a great start. There are usually enough jobs for regional
I confess to having a bias towards planners from the regions as these young planners get exposed to rural and urban
issues, tourism and industrial issues and the challenges of low growth, no growth and high growth communities.
Being a planner in a regional area most definitely means being connected to the outcomes.
If you could send one message to the planners of Australia, what would it be?
Draw. The ability to communicate ideas through images is powerful. I now realise the world is divided into people
who practice drawing and those who don’t.
I got started by following Architecture Daily on YouTube – my favourite clips for beginners are vehicles, trees, rapid
sketching and line weight. I also owe a lot of my understanding to Peter Richards (@PR_desigthinkingdrawings on
Instagram). Peter has even written a book to help people like me become better at drawing.
Are there any young people that inspire you?
I lecture at James Cook University. Every year the integrity and passion of students puts a spring in my step. The
future is in good hands.
28 the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2
the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2 29
Find and circle each of the words from the list below. Words may appear
Vplanning buzzword searchforwards or backwards, horizontally, vertically or diagonally in the grid.
ANDPVCEA TNORF EROF L EOAOR
ODE F P L VUACANSHUA ED ZMRE F
F I TRGY I V I NERDERV T I HE FRO
H K N C U O S N E V M I OWE G C R I R A S E
P U E E F C N I QH V UWR B O X NQ L P B F
NCDD TOORE E P X A I NX V L P E SHV
NE EHMDPUR L UGN I K I EMRU I E A
A L CE E J S SD F E T CNGGEMPDSDG
CEEVMAERBUEDFO I XEOEOENY
T B R I H R R Z I GGGR B E AWNO A I N E
I RPT TGATRNUA I NBETECNEZ F
V A N A YMR A X Y T L A L R I MB I MG I T
A TUVHDT T SE I I E F T ADF BNTNO
T EEOREYA I TNEUYURER I RA I Z
EOENDOAMYNML Z E EDOKOR I A I
U B S N E L I QCMDWC V H I I Y B T U R J
YV Z I ADAP T I VE I UDRF I QNDEN
O I YRFNGE I X T T BE TMVEDCYEU
I NSP I R I NGZ AURS TRA T EG I C I
OJ UEAEHR I LOETNE I L I SERDA
D J I I U Y E B I E D A T I AWR P Y C A I I
ZOOCORE S E E S Y Z Y A B V SMY S F D
WE O A H V E E O L S S A L C D L R OWO S P
Activate Hub Reinvigorate
ALedgaibpitliitvye Adaptive Inspiring DefinIicnognicRhythm Activate Resilient DRiveesrislieentPowerful
CReelveitbarliastee Integrated Strategic CeIdleebnratittey Leverage Innovative ForeRferosnptonEsixveemplar
PDCeoermfrieneianbgle WoCroldr-eclaIsdsentRityesIIIpnnnHonstenupogsbivrirviaanettIgicevoedRniecinvSigtorirkainteg EVmibbraronitderedSRRtehrUvyatitntheapmglriesicecedented
Embroidered Legibility Striking
CopyrigLhet ©v2e0r1a9 gWeorksheetWorks.com
Forefront Permeable Vibrant
Heart Powerful World-class
30 the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2
The Agenda is the journal of the planning profession in Queensland and the Northern
Territory. It is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. The journal is
supplied free to the PIA’s Queensland and Northern Territory members.
Advertising is available at the following rates:
• Full page: $550
• Full page (inside back cover): $625
• Full page (outside back cover): $775
• Half page: $325
• Half page: (inside back cover): $375
• Half page: (outside back cover): $475
• A4 insert sheet: $375 (plus $25 for every additional sheet, up to four sheets)
A discount of 10% applies to advertising bookings made for four consecutive issues.
Dimensions for advertisements are as follows:
• Full page: 275mm x 185mm
• Half page: 130mm x 185mm
Advertisements may be provided in TIFF, PNG, JPEG or PDF format. PDF preferred.
For more information about advertising or to make a booking, call Melanie Adam at PIA on
(07) 5465 7331 or email [email protected]
The next issue of The Agenda, Spring 2019, will carry the theme of ‘reflections’. Contributions
which relate to this theme are welcome and are due by 1 April 2019 (not an April fools
joke). We encourage you to contact the editorial team before drafting an article. A guide to
contributing is available on request.
To view The Agenda online:
1. login to your PIA account through the PIA website
2. click ‘Resources’ under the ‘my account’ section (left)
3. A ‘Member Resources’ page will appear - click ‘Resources’
4. Click ‘PIA Journals’
5. Select ‘The Agenda’
6. Scroll down to find the relevant issue.
Alternatively, type https://www.planning.org.au/
membersresources/the-agenda into your browser, follow the QR
code above, or click the link we sent you in the eNews.
Note: The views expressed in The Agenda are not necessarily the views of the Planning Institute of Australia, the
editor, the editorial committee or contributors’ employers. The Planning Institute of Australia, the editor and editorial
committee do not share information with contributors that is not otherwise publicly available. All statements are
believed to be true and accurate, but cannot be guaranteed and no liability will be accepted for any error or omission.
Advertisements must comply with relevant legislation. Responsibility for compliance rests with the person or company
submitting the advertisement.
the agenda - winter 2019 - VOL. 59 NO. 2 31
Cliff Wirz LLB MURP MDIA If you get stuck
just call us
0401 102 694 Planning law
[email protected] It’s all we do
69 Ann Street
BRISBANE QLD 4000