Planning Reform for Better Design


Department of Planning 'Workshop C2' Tuesday 8 December 2015

On Tuesday 8 December one of our TPG Urban Design team members, Bronwyn Slater, participated in a peer-review workshop hosted by the Department of Planning as part of its Planning Reform for Better Design (PRBD) project. The PRBD project focuses on a coordinated design policy reform for WA as part of the Department's wider planning reform, Phase 2 Blueprint for Planning Reform. One of the intended outcomes from PRBD is the creation of a State Planning Policy and associated Design Guide that would provide guidance and parameters for the design of residential buildings, and operate in a similar way to NSW SEPP 65 Policy (State Environmental Planning Policy No. 65 Design Quality of Residential Apartment Development).

Over the past six months the Department has hosted a number of facilitated workshops involving over 150 representatives from a cross-section of the planning, design and development community to input into the project outcomes. Bronwyn's role, in conjunction with the other practitioners at the workshop, was to provide input, feedback, and highlight areas for consideration within the Design Guide.

Bronwyn's interest in the PRBD project originated through completing her Master's of Urban Design thesis in 2015, which looked at different design techniques that could be utilised to manage transitions in residential density, and how these might operate in a policy-like setting.

The peer-review workshop hosted on Tuesday 8 December focused primarily on the Design Guide component of the project. The workshop consisted of a short presentation on the project progress so far, then followed by several group-brainstorming sessions in response to overarching aspects of the Design Guide context, amenity, typologies, controls, open space, urban ecology, and development incentives.

The key PRBD project deliverables are:

  • WAPC State Planning Policy (or equivalent) for design of the built environment and an associated Design Guide;
  • Best practice model for the operation of Design Review Panels (similar to the current Design Advisory Committees);
  • Discussion paper considering mandatory requirement for registered architect or other licensed design professional for projects meeting scale or complexity thresholds; and
  • An implementation and training program for Government staff, reviewers and elected members in the use of new policy measures.

The Department will focus on drafting the Policy and associated Design Guide in the first half of 2016, followed by a release of the draft for public comment. TPG will keep an eye out for the advertised draft, as this policy reform will have a significant impact on how residential development, particularly at higher densities, is conceived, regulated and delivered into Perth's future.

Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn for an instant update when the draft is released for comment later in the year.


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