The 2017 National Awards for Planning Excellence, presented by the Planning Institute of Australia at a ceremony in Sydney on 3 May 2017, awarded people and projects from around Australia for outstanding achievements in planning.
Two of the award categories celebrate great ideas. The Best Planning Ideas – Small Project Award recognizes outstanding planning ideas for a project that is limited to a site or local place/neighbourhood, the Best Planning Ideas – Large Project Award recognizes outstanding planning ideas for a large project that has town or city, regional, state-wide, national or cross-jurisdiction benefit.
Best Planning Ideas – Small Project
Award: Tropical Urbanism – Cairns City Image Study (Qld)
Project team: Cairns Regional Council, Tract Consultants, Follent, Peddle Thorp, CA Architects, Total Project Group Architects
Jury comment: The Cairns City Image Study project represents a turning point in the perception of building heights in Cairns for both the public and Council. The project delivers a contemporary and viable policy for built form through planning scheme provisions that increase development opportunities whilst preserving Cairns’ identity as a ‘city in a rainforest’.
Cairns Regional Council and the team of consultants are commended for undertaking a collaborative planning exercise, working with local architects to provide input into the study and to test the draft policy outcomes, capitalizing on their local experience.
The judges acknowledge that broader community engagement with the community was undertaken as part of consultation on proposed changes to the Council’s draft planning scheme.
The study represents a significant contribution of tropical expertise that can be offered, transferred and adapted to suit the needs of other tropical cities. Cairns is defining itself as a leader worldwide in the area of tropical urbanism.
The Tropical Urbanism – Cairns City Image Study and the integration of this study into the CairnsPlan 2016, will create a great legacy for planning and the city of Cairns.
Award: City Road Master Plan (Vic)
Project team: City of Melbourne
Jury comment: The City of Melbourne’s City Road Master Plan wonderfully combines visionary ideas with practical actions in its effort to revitalise areas within Southbank that are currently unfriendly, underwhelming and underperforming as well as divided by City Road. The master plan aims to transform the City Road area into a safer, more welcoming and productive place and effectively stitch the two halves of Southbank back together. As the master plan states, it addresses ways to better balance the road’s two primary roles – as an important transport corridor, and as a place that supports local street life that is people-friendly for all the residents, workers and visitors.
The master plan identifies opportunities and constraints for improvement, with a real understanding of trade-offs between competing interests that need to be made, while staying true to its aim of reconnecting a divided neighbourhood. Innovative approaches and effective community consultation and engagement have clearly benefited the plan. The clear and logical approach taken to developing the master plan can be directly transferred to other street renewal projects aimed at better balancing movement and place functions, and provides a valuable contribution to furthering the principles of good planning.
Best Planning Ideas – Large Project
Award: Moreton Bay Region University Precinct (Qld)
Project team: Moreton Bay Regional Council
Jury comment: The Moreton Bay Region University Precinct is an ambitious and bold plan by Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC), which will be a gamechanger for the South East Queensland region. MBRC is commended for taking the initiative to make a strategic landholding purchase of the former Petrie Mill, deliver a major university campus, and successfully attract a university provider, the University of Sunshine Coast.
This project, the first ever led by a local government in Australia, will create significant cultural, sporting, recreational and environmental community owned facilities that the region can be proud of. Whilst unique and innovative, the project has transferability to other local governments looking to diversify their economies and transform disused precincts.
Whilst the project is in its initial stages, MBRC has already undertaken extensive community and industry consultation through online engagement platforms, letters to the public, information kiosk, and community open days. Initial feedback indicates overwhelming support for the project. The project also has support politically where funding from the federal government has been secured.
Commendation: Melton Dry Stone Wall Study and Amendment (Vic)
Project team: Melton City Council