Tuesday, 2 December 2014

University of Canberra Commercial Precinct Study

Although not strictly about urban and regional planning this was a report written for my statistics based unit at University of Canberra. I thought it had some interesting planning aspects so I'm posting it here.


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Yass Town Strategic Plan

Yass Town Final Copy

Importance of Indicators in Strategic Plans

Indicators are an important way of measuring the success of strategic plans by monitoring the plans priorities and outcomes. It is important to monitor and measure the success of strategic plans to see if the goals and outcomes our being achieved and if they are not then changes may need to be made to actions and/or priorities or the plan may have to be changed in its entirety. Indicators vary depending on the plan and what they measure. Some indicators our based on baseline data and therefore are easy to measure for example foot fall other indicators like quality of life and state of the environment can be harder to measure although there are models that can be used.

Plans which focus on easily measurable indicators from baseline data such as the Queanbeyan CBD Master Plan and to a lesser extent the Canberra City Plan can lose focus on the community just to deliver these figures to show the effectiveness of the plan which is not ideal. Although plans which focus on things harder to measure like Bristol 2020 plan also tread a fine line, being difficult to measure the effectiveness of the plan. A combination of easily measurable and more complex indicators help make the best plan. Indicators are very important because without a way of measuring the success of a strategic plan it is just an academic exercise.


Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate , 2012. ACT Planning Stratergy , Canberra: ACT Government.
Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate, 2013. The City Plan, Canberra: ACT Government.
Leyshon Consulting, 2009. Queanbeyan CBD Master Plan, Sydney: Leyshon Consulting PTY LTD.
McMahon, S. K., 2002. The development of quality of life indicators—a case study from the City of Bristol, UK, Bristol: Elsevier.

The Bristol Partnership, n.d. The Bristol 20:20 Plan, Bristol: Synergy Creative.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Importance of Capital Metro - Canberra as a Great Global City

Capital metro is very important much needed piece of infrastructure although controversial especially if you believe the Canberra Times. Canberra has always been designed to have rail and the large wide median strips show this; but this has never happened. Canberra’s reliance on cars needs to be broken to deal with many issues such as growth in population, sustainability and higher fuel prices, (ACT Government, 2012).

 The first stage is Gungahlin to civic is controversial option but really this makes sense because currently Northbourne avenue is currently a pressure point for public transport, public transport from civic to Gungahlin doesn’t work, this is because there is no bus priority along Northbourne, (ACT Government, 2014). Options to rectify this are to make the left lane along Northbourne a bus only lane which would congest traffic further or the light rail. One obvious answer the light rail its good for Canberra and needed for the future, (Hass, 2014)

The other thing building capital metro is facilitating is the Northbourne corridor revamp which will completely change Canberra’s image for tourists as they drive in from dilapidated housing commission buildings to nice modern mixed use buildings, more people and more vibrancy, (ACT Government, Land Development Agency, 2014) .


ACT Government, Land Development Agency, 2014. Northbourne Housing Precinct. [Online]
Available at: http://www.lda.act.gov.au/en/northbourne-avenue-corridor

ACT Government, 2012. Transport for Canberra, Canberra: Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate.

ACT Government, 2014. Capital Metro. [Online]
Available at: http://www.capitalmetro.act.gov.au/

Hass, D. C., 2014. ACT Light Rail. [Online]
Available at: http://www.actlightrail.info/
[Accessed 21 October 2014].

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

City to the Lake

City to the Lake is Canberra’s largest urban renewal project if the ACT government gets around to it. It will bring Canberra’s CBD to West Basin bridging across Parks Way. This Project needs to be done very carefully and needs to enhance not worsen the aesthetic appeal of Lake Burley Griffin. While I do believe this project needs to happen I’m not sure now is a suitable time, not to be to negative but with recent hits to Canberra’s economy and retail struggling around the city I think adding large new retail spaces just won’t work.

Increasing Civics population by building high density housing in the centre of the city as has been seen in New Acton could make this project more viable in the future. On the positive side this project will deliver much needed accommodation in the centre of the city and even more importantly deliver much needed infrastructure, (ACT Government, Environment and Sustainable Development, 2012). Within the City to the lake plan is a new Aquatics Centre, Stadium and land reserved for a new convention centre.

 New Aquatics facilities and a stadium are desperately needed for Canberra and I would start this project by building the new aquatics facility and stadium and then re-evaluate the rest of the project once that is complete, (ACT Government, Environment and Sustainable Development, 2012).


ACT Government, Environment and Sustainable Development, 2012. ACT Planning Strategy, Canberra: ACT Government.


Just updating you all my last post and the next 3 are a part of this semesters assessable
  work of 4, 200 words Forum Post spread across the semester. I'm sorry they are brief but I am restricted by the 200 word limit.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Evaluation Tools and Systems

Accessibility is an vital consideration in urban and regional planning however it is rarely considered for policy evaluation from the viewpoint of individuals' quality of life (QoL), (Doi, et al., 2007). Physical accessibility can be split into two key categories: transport and Activity. Transport is simply travel distance, time, cost for various modes of transport, Activity refers to the amount and location of opportunities, (Doi, et al., 2007). The evaluation of QoL has changed throughout time and has recently been evaluated as satisfaction/availability of resources, (Doi, et al., 2007). this is no longer an accurate way to evaluate QoL a more comprehensive approach is needed to understand QoL and how strategic urban planning can enhance QoL, (Khalil, 2012). Five key aspects are to be considered when planning these are safety and security, economic opportunity, service and cultural opportunity and environmental benignity these five areas can replace Felce and Perry’s five areas of QoL which although were multidimensional the cannot be easily applied, (Khalil, 2012). When these Five aspects are applied in urban planning healthier cities can be created and flow on effects are seen. Using these aspects in strategic planning helps lead to less inequality, more recreation, lowing of mental health issues and healthier places to live all round, (Barton & Tsourou, 2013).


Barton, H. & Tsourou, C., 2013. Healthy Urban Planning. 1st ed. Copenhagen: Taylor and Francis Group.
Doi, K., Kii , M. & Nakanishi, H., 2007. An integrated evaluation method of accessibility, quality of life, and social interaction, Toyohashi: published online.

Khalil, H. A., 2012. Enhancing quality of life through strategic urban planning. 5th ed. Cairo: Cairo University .

Friday, 9 May 2014

Case study 5 Coping with disaster: Victorian Bushfire 2009

The 2009 Victorian bushfires also known as the black Saturday bushfires were a series of bushfires that ignited on the 7th of February 2009. These bushfires killed 173 people and injured around 414 people, over 3500 structures destroyed mainly houses with over 4billion dollars’ worth of damages.  

This day was a perfect day for bushfires with the temperature peaking in Melbourne at 46.4deggrees (C) and 48.8 degrees (C) and over 115 km/h wind combined to make some of the worst bushfire weather in Australian history. The Australian institute of meteorology predicted these conditions well before they happened they and preparations were made warnings were given the fireman were ready to fight the blaze and still 173 people died.

The towns of Kinglake, Marysville, Narbethong, Strathewen and Flowerdale were completely destroyed well many others were severely damaged. Although this is extremely tragic planning can go a long way to making sure that something like this won’t happen again. In September 2009 a royal commission into the Victorian bushfires was called and policy improvements were recommended and there was a strong focus on buying back properties in extreme danger areas, wide fire barriers and clearings around roads and property’s.

other recommendations where more back burning, fire trails, higher fire safety standards for properties (including retrofitting heritage properties), more fire access roads and improving communications as fire tore through telephone lines and towers and communications where lost better communications facilities are needed and more resilient from fire. Another focus was on vulnerable demographics almost 50% of people who died where over 70 or under 12 more has to be done to protect these vulnerable members of the community such as making aged care and child care facilities more fire resistant and in non-fire prone areas.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Case study 3 Planning for adaptation: Batemans Bay

Batemans bay is a town growing fast and has many issues and problems to consider which are unique to settlements on the coast. Batemans bay currently has a population of around 16,000 people which is expected to increase by around 40% to 23,000 by 2031. Batemans bay has an ageing and elderly population with 22% of the population over 65 and this expected to increase over the next 20 years Batemans bay being a desirable retirement destination for members of Canberra and surrounding areas. For this reason Eurobodalla Shire Council have brought in an ageing-in-place strategy to provide planning directions and controls that support easy-maintenance homes for seniors that are located close to shops and other services.
Batemans Bay
The growth of Batemans Bay will be achieved through a combination of Greenfield, urban renewal and infill projects. Two areas were considered for greenfield development both north of Batemans bay CBD; one in Batemans bay north and the other near Maloney’s beach after much deliberation and studies the north Batemans bay site was found to be the best area for greenfield development and Maloney’s beach should not be used until after the north Batemans bay sit.
new growth areas
Although these Greenfield areas could accommodate Batemans bays population increase this would not be ideal for Batemans bay infill will be needed in central areas to keep the population especially elderly population close to services. Environmental issues also need to be thought about when planning anywhere but a costal environment is especially venerable.
elderly infill housing Batemans Bay
Sea level rise is a serious issue that needs to be planned for with the sea rising an average of 3mm per year, king tides and heavy rainfall also make flooding a more recent event, planning needs to consider this and leave barriers and clearings from the ocean and rivers. If planned well this could save millions of dollars’ worth of damages in the future also Batemans bay being regional and surrounded by bush land and only with one major access road bush fires are a serious issue which can be managed via back burning fire breaks and fire barriers/clearings especially around roads and fire routes.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Case Study 2: Melbourne Docklands

Docklands is probably the largest and most economically significant urban renewal project which has taken place in Australia’s history. This project has huge implications on Melbourne, Victoria and Australia as it attempts to attract large national and international business investment. The economic benefits more then cover the overall expense of this large project; the overall cost of the project is $12billion and is currently at its halfway point but has already received $8.5billion of business investment and when complete in 2025 it will accommodate over 50,000 workers. These economic benefits are extremely important to Melbourne’s economy but a urban renewal project of this size internationally shows that Australia can be world leaders in innovation to encourage global investment.

To understand the importance of this urban renewal project locally we first need to consider the history of this area. Established in 1880 to support ships for incoming immigrants and materials, over years it became a heavy industrial area to take in materials for Melbourne and Victoria’s trade, construction and manufacturing industries. Between 1900 and the 1950’s Docklands was the busiest port in Australia, this was due to both industry and immigration and for this reason established strong rail links for trade and transport across Melbourne and Victoria. After the 1950’s docklands trade was redirected to other more accessible ports in Victoria most notably Geelong and its fate was uncertain all that remained was an industrial wasteland on Melbourne’s naturally beautiful waterfront.

In 1991 the Victorian government established the docklands authority, to plan and develop the docklands area, in 1996 the plans were drafted and released and the docklands area was split in 7 precincts, in 1997 construction on the stadium commenced and in 2013 the docklands project hit its halfway point.
Docklands history gives it a special place in the community’s heart so extensive community consultation was and still is needed for the correct outcomes for the Melbourne community and heritage plays and important role to preserve the history of docklands. What was clear from the community consultation was the community wanted more utilisation of the water front, more greens spaces and innovative environmental design. This was all considered and is reflected in the reports released. Docklands is now an area with investor, community and tourist appeal, all design and construction must fall within ESD guidelines and the docklands area will be home to 20,000 residents, 700 marinas and over 100 restaurants and cafĂ© to establish a vibrant area on Melbourne’s waterfront.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Reflection of case study 1: Queanbeyan

Firstly I hope all the people who were at the presentation enjoyed it, I have to say this was one of the most interesting assignments that I have had to present. Queanbeyan is a regional city in NSW and has a similar planning framework as other regional NSW cities of simular sizes however Queanbeyan has unique concerns and problems due to its proximity to Canberra. To begin this presentation the process Queanbeyan city council go through in planning was outlined and a brief history was given then we spoke about new growth areas of Queanbeyan these are areas of expansion for Queanbeyan these include south Jerrabomberra, Tralee area and Googong with construction on Stage 1 of Googong well underway.

Then we spoke about the road infrastructure of Queanbeyan and future roads such as Dunns creek road, Ellerton drive extension and the northern bypass currently not going ahead and outlined most of the new road infrastructure and road improvements were being built to facilitate for the new growth areas. Then we moved on to talk about infill housing and Queanbeyan having some quite large high and medium density areas due to their proximity to Canberra and surrounds and also close to Queanbeyan CBD but with this zoning maps of Queanbeyan where shown and zoning problems where outlined from where high density and medium density housing areas met industrial areas.

Then we moved on to heritage and this is an important planning consideration to remain the city’s history but encourage investment, then transport infrastructure was spoken about focusing on public transport, walking and cycling and a focus on the car orientated type of city Queanbeyan is and a lack of public transport integration between Queanbeyan and Canberra. Finally the economics of Queanbeyan was outlined reviewing Queanbeyan city council reports, 2006 census and the CBD master plan and critically analysed the plans for future development and looked at Queanbeyan’s strong manufacturing and construction industries influence we concluded are speech with a short video to have a light hearted finish and I hope all who were there enjoyed.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Planning Systems in Australia (blog 2 2014)

Planning systems in Australia vary depending on state and territory. Every state and territory have their own distinct planning systems and process which are influenced by different things depending on what is significant for that state or territory for this reason I’ll break this blog post into State and territories


Planning has always been a big part of the ACT Canberra being a planned Capital as you all know. Planning in Canberra dates back to the original griffin plan (1911 + 1918) work didn’t really get underway on Griffins vision till 1927 with the Federal Capital commission (FCC) and the later the National Capital Development Commission (NCDC). The Commonwealth government remained the sole planning Authority over the ACT till it gained self-governance in 1988 and with self-governance came the Australian Capital Territory’s Land and Management act 1988. This did not mean the ACT government became the sole body when it comes Planning due to Canberra’s national commission the NCA would be in charge of planning areas of national significance and these areas would remain commonwealth land while ACTPLA would be the planning body in charge of all other areas. Certain areas of Canberra overlap a good example of this would be Canberra City which is ACT land and also has national significance in this case both planning bodies preside although the commonwealth government (NCA) are supposed to get priority. The ACT does have its own unique advantages in planning as both the ACT Government and Commonwealth Government own all the Land within the territory this means land ownership doesn’t become a big issue and all plans can be carried out in their entirety which has been a problem in other states. This also brings unique challenges as land sales make up 50% of the ACT governments income this tends to cloud their judgement in regards to development.


New South Wales planning system is very similar to that of all the other states where the state government creates rules and guidelines for planning and then the local councils are the reasonable bodies for planning and they work with in these guidelines. This system becomes problematic in a large city like Sydney where you have 38 local councils which have to work together for big planning projects they often run into problems and the state government then steps in to solve these problems. In recent years the State government has played a larger role in the planning of Sydney to solve this problem.


Northern territory being a territory it is quite similar to the ACT with the commonwealths sitting above the territory government however the commonwealth don’t play as big a role as Canberra has more national significance with all the federal government buildings and national monuments. Also in the Northern Territory you can own land titles as well as leasing. Northern territory also has large portions of land which has been given back to the indigenous people and needs the approval of their elders to be developed, this is normally granted when royalties have been agreed on.


Queensland run a similar system to NSW where guidelines are set out by the state government and then local councils are the planning body which work within those guidelines. In Brisbane the largest city in Queensland there is only one large council not lots of small ones like Sydney which solves the issues which arise when councils have to work together.


All share simular planning systems; simular to NSW and QLD planning systems, but they vary slightly over what they consider significant to their state for example Tasmania have a strong greens presence in parliament so preservation of national parks and the environment are key in planning, WA mining is significant to their economy so it plays a large role in planning and catering for fly in fly out workers and mining communities. In Victoria it has a strong rich history so heritage and urban renewal play a large part in planning along with catering for agriculture which is a large part of Victoria’s economy. While South Australia has a slightly different planning structure where the state government are the main planning body and local councils play more a symbolic role.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Best Planners in 19-20th Century - Ebenezer Howard (blog 1 2014)

It is hard to pick one planner across the 19th and 20th century as there has been many great planners who in their own way have contributed and changed planning theory. Ebenezer Howard was one of these great planners although he is hard to quantify as the best because there are positives and negatives to what he did however he will be the focus of this blog. Ebenezer Howard is very well known in the planning profession mainly due to the fact he started the garden city movement. The garden city movement was very important to planning and changed the way planners thought about cities; before the garden city movement planning especially planning in the UK was focused on what it thought was “functionality” and what functionality basically meant was building a lot of roads and then dumping high density council housing to accommodate the population. The garden city moved away from the idea cities just had to house people and created a community and an aesthetic city people wanted to live in with a lot of trees and open spaces.

Ebenezer Howard’s garden city was the first sustainable city model which came about within the planning profession and now is used a lot when expanding and building new cities now, combining urban areas with trees and open spaces is essential for cities to function and we know that thanks to the garden city movement. Many people miss understand and think the garden city should be low density suburbia but as mentioned in the video Planning Past and Future: Early 21st Century Reflections’ the garden city is a medium density urban centre which allows you to walk to the shops and work and combines community with gardening and farming and becoming fully sustainable. Criticisms of the garden city would be although it can be adapted to work with the environment and make a great social community it doesn’t take into account economics and the productivity of the area things like supporting local business and public transport, that is reflective of the time but now with globalization and urbanization these things have to be incorporated.