Keynote speaker – Landscape Australia Conference 2019
Anna is the founding director of Place Laboratory. Anna has over twenty-five years experience across the disciplines of place planning, urban design and landscape architecture, directing and shaping the design of major public realm projects across Australia. At Place Laboratory, Anna ensure that each project’s vision and values are maintained and cultivated throughout the design process. Her portfolio of projects ranges from the urban scale planning for new city centres and urban redevelopment to public squares and streets. Anna is an advocate for innovative urban design, and has a particular interest and extensive experience in place planning, place-led design approaches, and the bringing of new approaches to people-focused development outcomes.
Place Laboratory is a Perth and Canberra-based practice with a strong focus on designing for the public realm. The studio works with the dynamics of the interplay between buildings and open space, setting the stage for people to make a valuable and significant contribution to the culture of a city. Rather than believing in design for design’s sake, the practice believes the role of the designer is to interpret the cultural underpinnings of a society and to give life and meaning to the physical form of space. They create spaces that are engaging, meaningful, delightful, walkable, welcoming, accessible, well connected and that have a distinctive quality that enhances a sense of belonging.
As a designer of the public realm I want nothing more than to create great places. But have you ever wondered what actually constitutes a “great place”? For urban designers like myself, the idea of creating great places has led our studio to think about “experience” in the public realm as a key design driver. A great urban experience needs to be built upon a deep understanding of users, their behaviours, what they need and value, and what motivates them.
The Place Laboratory team began our place making journey over 10 years ago. Since then place making, place activation, place programming and place planning have become common terms in our professional vocabulary. It’s all about place! While place making is a positive design tool, its end goal is to ultimately create meaningful experiences for people in public spaces. It is the quality of the human experience, a mix of personal memories, moments and stories, which defines whether a place is great or not. Using four different case studies I’ll take you on a journey exploring our evolving ideas of what makes a “great place.”