FEDERAL Transport and Infrastructure Minister, Anthony Albanese, this week launched 'Creating Places for People—an urban design protocol for Australian cities', a new tool that aims to improve the quality and useability of the built environment.
Launching the protocol on Wednesday at the State of Australian Cities Conference at the University of Melbourne, Mr Albanese said it would help to produce attractive, high-quality sustainable places in which people will want to live, work and relax.
"It sets out the common sense principles which underpin good urban design and provides sound, practical advice for avoiding the planning mistakes which too often create neighbourhoods characterised by high crime rates, poor health outcomes, social isolation, joblessness, poor housing and a lack of basic services," Mr Albanese said.
The protocol is the result of two years of collaboration between peak community and industry organisations, as well as all levels of government, with over 500 individuals and organisations having some level of involvement in the development of the protocol.
Founded on the five pillars of productivity, sustainability, liveability, leadership and design excellence, the protocol aims to "create productive, sustainable and liveable places for people through leadership and the integration of design excellence."
Mr Albanese described the new protocol as "a plain-English 'how-to' guide and check list for decision makers and professionals whose work affects the built environment as well as members of the public who care about the design of their local community."
The Minister said the protocol continues the Australian Government's re-engagement with cities and builds on the government's earlier urban policy initiatives, including:
- Establishment of the Major Cities Unit;
- A commitment of $7.3 billion to modernise and extend the urban rail infrastructure in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane and Sydney as well as on the Gold Coast;
- Placing infrastructure planning reform on the COAG agenda with the establishment of the National Planning Taskforce;
- Requiring all state and territory governments to have strategic planning systems in place for their capital city by January 2012 as a condition of further Federal infrastructure funding; and
- Publishing a regular State of the Cities Report to monitor the performance the nation's eighteen biggest cities over time so policy-makers can measure and assess what works and what doesn't.
The Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) welcomed the release of the new protocol and said the initiative demonstrates the Australian Government's enhanced understanding of the need for improving the design of spaces.
"Creating Places for People is about aiming for world class urban design which in turn brings sustainability, economic prosperity and liveability." said PIA National President, Dyan Currie, adding that "better planning and design for our cities and towns is the key to a better future for all of us."
Ms Currie said PIA was proud to be able to contribute to Creating Places for People through participation on the editorial board and the work it had done in establishing a national guide to designing places for healthy living.
The protocol was also welcomed by the Lord Mayors of Australia's capital cities, with Lord Mayor of Hobart and Chair of the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors, Damon Thomas, saying the protocol reinforces the importance of designing cities and urban places in which people want to live, work and visit.
"The urban design protocol is an important tool which will inform and equip government and industry practitioners involved in designing our cities and suburbs. The protocol marries high level principles with practical examples which demonstrate what can be achieved," Mr Thomas said.
A full copy of the document, 'Creating Places for People—an urban design protocol for Australian cities', can be downloaded from <http://www.urbandesign.gov.au/>.