It has been a busy few weeks for the Planning Institute of Australia as the state and territory Awards for Planning Excellence have been announced around the country.
Last week we rounded up a handful of NSW’s winners, which included an elevated train line and Greater Sydney’s first comprehensive monitoring and reporting framework.
In Victoria, the winners included the Meadowlink Linear Park project which saw a decommissioned rail line converted into walking and cycling trails, parkland and a habitat corridor.
This project took out the Healthy Active by Design Award for its creation of what the judges described as a “safe and attractive environment that allows people to walk and cycle to community facilities in an otherwise urban environment”.
The PIA VIC President’s Award went to Homes for Homes, a social enterprise that generates new funding to increase social and affordable housing.
This new, sustainable funding stream aims to combat homelessness in Australia by asking property owners to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation of 0.1 per cent of their home’s sale price when they move.
The fund aims to raise more than $1 billion in this way over the next 30 years to help provide housing for the country’s at risk and homeless population – 20 per cent (roughly 25,000) of whom are in Victoria.
In Queensland, the Mandingalbay Yidinji Eco Infrastructure Tourism Project took out the award for Best Planning Ideas – Small Projects for its uniquely Indigenous-led, owned and operated cultural and ecotourism facilities.
Judges praised the project, which is expected to open in late 2021, as a best practice example of marrying “indigenous cultural knowledge and visioning with contemporary engineering, science, planning and traditional owner land management”.
The Brisbane City Council was recognised with the Great Place Award for its Revitalisation of Howard Smith Wharves project, which saw amenities including eateries, a local brewery, hotel accommodation, and quiet spaces for rest and relaxation injected into the waterside venue.
“The revitalisation of Howard Smith Wharves reminds us of what it often takes to produce something that is worthy of a great place,” the judges said. “. This iconic location acknowledges the importance of its context, both as a destination and as a place of conveyance, while embodying its transformation into a great place.”
In South Australia, the Felixstow Reserve Redevelopment was recognised in three categories, winning the Public Engagement and Community Planning Award and being commended in the Best Planning Ideas – Large and Great Place categories.
The redevelopment saw a utilitarian open space converted into a “functional meeting place and community asset”, adding features such as a new wetland system, an Indigenous cultural walking trail, free public fitness stations and barbecue amenities.
Judges applauded the reinvigoration of the space for its promotion of “human contact and social activity through the use of clever design and repurposing of physical elements in a visually interesting way”.
In Western Australia, the Best Planning Ideas – Large Project award went to the Shire of Collie and Andrew Dover’s Collie River Valley Trails project. This “ambitious” network of cycle paths aims to link the town of Collie as it is rolled out over the next few years, and includes a plan to market the project to the town’s residents.
“It is an innovative approach taken in the context of challenging economic circumstances,” the judges said, “with solutions developed that go beyond simply delivering a streetscape upgrade or new urban precinct.”
The Best Planning Ideas – Small Project award went to the City of Fremantle for its responsive infill project: The Freo Alternative: big thinking about small housing.
The design offers a form of sustainable housing that has a physically small footprint to “provide greater housing choice, density and diversity within established suburbs of Fremantle”. The design is also low carbon and energy efficient, with an emphasis on greenery.
The Northern Territory presents its awards biannually so was not represented this year.