INNOVATIVE and unique planning projects from across the country received top recognition at the 2012 Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) Awards for Planning Excellence, held last week at a gala dinner at the Adelaide Convention Centre as part of the PIA National Congress.
A strategy aimed at addressing community dysfunction caused by the mining boom, a 20 year Urban Renewal project for Brisbane and a plan to make cities child and youth friendly were among the winners.
Queensland projects dominated the program, winning eight of the twelve award categories with judges awarding commendations to a number of other nominations.
PIA National President Dyan Currie said the awards showcased leading practice across a range of planning disciplines and demonstrate that planers really do make a difference.
"The variety of nominations this year clearly shows how planning is becoming more dynamic and inclusive when we think about the clean, safe and sustainable communities we want for the future," Ms Currie said.
"Some of this year's nominations address issues that haven't received a proper level of attention in the past and some of the others are unique projects planners have devised to address new challenges."
The Awards begin at state and territory level with nominations received at National level being the very best planning projects already recognised by the states and territories.
A planning project designed by Queensland's Urban Land Development Authority (ULDA) called 'Engaging in the Cauldron - Blackwater and Moranbah', won the Public Engagement and Community Planning Award.
The judges noted the project showcased the value of effective community engagement in regional mining communities leading to the development of practical housing guidelines and solutions.
Brisbane City Council's Urban Renewal Program Urban Renewal Brisbane - 20 years took out the inaugural category 'From Plan to Place Award'.
Urban Renewal Brisbane is a program of rejuvenation begun in 1991 by BCC and is responsible for managing and revitalising Brisbane's inner city areas. Judges said the project is a clear demonstration of a long term vision being delivered in partnership with the private sector and the community over two decades.
The 'Best Planning Ideas Award' went to a project called 'Child and Youth Friendly City'. This was seen by the judges as a case study for city planners to consider.
The project team of Redland City Council, Griffith University, Laurel Johnson and Play Environment Consulting provided a new and important insight into how planning and design of the built environment should consider young people with exercise at the centre of child and youth happiness.
Brendan Nelson, General Manager, Land Use Planning at the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA), was named Australian Planner of the Year.
The judges noted that Mr Nelson has progressed reconstruction efforts through clear and focused leadership, achieving remarkable results since the QRA was formally established on 21 February 2011.
They stated his outstanding contribution and leadership in reconstruction programs including the preparation of legislation, provided significant support to the Queensland community and raised the profile of planning in a positive way.