Arden Macaulay Workshop
"There is a common misconception that the ‘market’ will deliver a quality outcome if left to its own devices, but this workshop and other more extensive studies have shown this not to be the case."
In December 2012 a group of residents, developers, planners, councillors, state members of parliament, architects and urban designers, gathered at the former Young & Husband Wool Store, to consider the potential consequences of Planning Amendment C190.
The workshop was organized by the architectural cooperative, Architeam and ARC, the Architectural Research Consultancy.
A significant amount of ground was covered over the two days of this workshop. After the Friday morning discussion, each group considered the need for demographic diversity and connectedness, built‐form variation, integration of heritage fabric, open space networks and the potential of a height‐for‐amenity trading scheme.
The outcomes of this discussion did not form part of a formal submission but they provided audience members with greater insight into the complex issues involved in planning a sustainable precinct. The idea for IMPA emerged from this meeting.
The workshop began with a panel discussion on the topic of “Planning for socially, environmentally and economically sustainable communities in urban renewal areas".
The panel members were:
‐ Kevin Chamberlain from the North and West Melbourne Association.
‐ Sharon Inkster, Representative of the Kensington Association.
‐ Peter Hogg, Representative of RAID
‐ David Islip from the Office of the Victorian Government Architect.
‐ Leanne Hodyl, Strategic Planner from the City of Melbourne.
‐ Brian Tee, State Shadow Minister for Planning.
‐ David Wardlaw, Managing Director at HWD Australia.
‐ Dr Seamus O'Hanlon, Urban Historian, Monash University.
‐ Dr Kate Shaw, Urban Geographer, University of Melbourne.
‐ Dr Marcus White, Urban Designer and Architect, University of Melbourne and Harrison White Architects.
‐ Dr Justyna Anna Karakiewicz, Urban and Regional Planner, University of Melbourne.
‐ Francis Grey, Social Economist.
Also present in the Audience were Councillors Ken Ong and Rohan Leppert, along with State MP Jennifer Kanis.
All participants agreed—for potentially different reasons—on the need for a comprehensive precinct plan to inform any proposed amendment to the planning scheme. Such a plan would go far beyond blanket zoning, height limitations and setbacks by setting negotiated ground rules for sustainable development, thus providing the scaffold necessary for the evolution of a complex, connected community.
There is a common misconception that the ‘market’ will deliver a quality outcome if left to its own devices, but this workshop and other more extensive studies have shown this not to be the case. The developers and economists that participated in the workshop agreed that the market can adjust to imposed limitations, particularly if the negotiable elements are clearly articulated as part of a trading scheme—another reason for a precinct‐wide amenity plan. A significant obstacle remains with the financial institutions that perceive integrated developments as being high‐risk.
During the second day of the workshop, community members worked with developers, architects and urban planners to explore ideas for public open spaces in the new precinct. Even the kids got involved. Topics included the future use of industrial heritage buildings, permeability of urban blocks and potential locations for public open spaces.
This workshop has gone some way to identify opportunities for the precinct by bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders. It has been shown that a carefully crafted, adaptable masterplan can be incorporated into a Planning Amendment through the mechanism of an Urban Design Framework, to ensure that clarity of expectation is embedded the process. Such mechanisms can be adopted by the City of Melbourne as they have by other councils. The overarching aim is that the existing community will gain from new development, future communities are considered and developers are incentivized to negotiate yield for amenity on a site‐by‐site basis.
As part of the Participate Melbourne online community, the City of Melbourne has made some helpful information available about the C190 Planning Amendment. It is a good starting point if you are unfamiliar with the process.