The NSW Chapter of Learning Environments Australasia has announced that they will be running a grants program this year, in support of their 2018 theme of Real People, Problems, Responses.
Called Small Numbers, Big Thinking, the Grant will be awarded to two Learning Environments located in NSW, to enable them to undertake a project that will develop and enhance a teaching and learning area. Submissions are due by 30 March 2018, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Felicity Lewis and Diana Griffiths co-authored an article for the December 2017 issue of the New Planner, a magazine of the NSW Division of the Planning Institute of Australia which provides a forum for news and opinion and focuses on environmental, town and regional planning issues. The article, entitled “High rise schools: Putting students first” considered the Sydney-centric phenomenon of “high rise” schools, where escalating land costs are forcing the consolidation of schools within their current boundaries to meet the rapidly growing needs of communities undergoing urban renewal.
The article recommended a focus on providing choice, so that students can access learning in a manner that is suited to their needs, and on flexibility and resilience so that the inevitable changes that will be required during the life of school facilities can be accommodated into the future.
Over the last nine months Studio GL has been running interactive training workshops in association with PIA NSW and various local councils, on how to assess context and neighbourhood character. The course clarifies the concept of “neighbourhood character” and “desired future character” and provides a simple framework by which planners can identify and analyze these issues.
The workshop helps participants to learn how to ‘read’ the context and neighbourhood character and appreciate the elements that can be used to ‘respond’ to a specific context. It focuses on defining what context and neighbourhood character means, using photographs to show the elements that contribute to different neighbourhood characters. An interactive case study is also used to engage participants and encourage debate.
Felicity Lewis has been elected as Chair Elect for the NSW Chapter of Learning Environments Australasia (LEA). She will hold this position for the next two years and will then take on the position of Chair for a further two years.
LEA is a community of professionals working together to plan and build better learning environments. It is a voluntary member organization, that serves its members through a focus on the key strategic areas of Advocacy, Sharing Best Practice and Research.
Felicity has been involved at a Chapter level for almost a decade, and has been the LEA NSW Awards Coordinator since their inaugural event in 2016.
Sydney Metro Delivery Office has been awarded a commendation in the Public Engagement & Community Planning category of the Planning Institute Australia Awards for Excellence 2017 – NSW Chapter. This work followed on from work undertaken by Studio GL in early 2016, which identified items that might be subject to possible Moral Rights, along the Chatswood to Sydenham Metro route.
Sydney Metro undertook an extensive process involving contacting architects, artists and designers and where necessary, their families, whose works may be impacted and this award recognizes the high quality outcome of this work.
Studio GL’s founding Director, Diana Griffiths was invited to speak at the 10th International Urban Design Conference held on the Gold Coast in November 2017. Her talk, titled ‘Moving beyond the Circle – Shaping Australia’s Future Cities’, focused on rethinking the analytical tools that Australian cities use for planning, at a time when many cities are transforming to accommodate significant population growth. Diana identified challenges in current planning systems which are designed to accommodate incremental, not disruptive change. Using various lenses including accessibility, efficiency and intersection density, she explained the benefits of thinking holistically about the challenges in order to enhance urban spaces and improve the long term desirability of our cities.
Staff at Studio GL have been delighted to be back working with staff from Shoalhaven City Council, stakeholders and the local community on the Nowra CBD. Diana Griffiths and Brigitte Buchholz worked closely with Council, the community and the CBD Liaison Committee to develop a cohesive vision for the town centre in 2010-2011 and between 2014-2015 the entire Studio GL team returned to work on creating new development controls for the centre that would reflect the vision identified in the Nowra CBD Urban Design Master Plan.
Studio GL facilitated a series of workshops with Council staff, stakeholders and the local community to create the development controls that have been designed to ensure new buildings would improve the visual appearance and amenity of the CBD.
In April 2016, after public exhibition of the draft Development Controls Report, Shoalhaven City Council resolved to adopt the report. Feedback from Council’s strategic planner at the time noted “Thank you so much for all your hard work on the report. I am really happy with how it turned out and we have had nothing but positive feedback (which is a rare occurrence). So thank you, and please pass on my thanks to the team”.
Studio GL has been pleased at the general support shown by the community for the proposed Scone Town Centre Masterplan, Merriwa Town Centre Masterplan, Aberdeen Town Centre Masterplan and Murrurundi Town Centre Masterplan during the public exhibition phase of the draft documents which concluded in May 2016. During the public exhibition over 80% of respondents strongly supported or supported the draft master plans.
The final Masterplans will be presented to the Upper Hunter Shire Council for final approval towards the end of June 2016.