Feature image for the article 'Taking the National Planning Pulse: Conversations for a better tomorrow'

As an intra-disciplinary design practice, knowledge, research and the sharing of that information is central to achieving solutions for urban issues that are both relevant and responsive to our clients and their communities. Therefore, this month we were delighted to take up a sponsorship opportunity with the Planning Institute of Australia for their 2018 National Congress and annual national awards.

Over the course of two days and three nights in Perth, several members of the Hames Sharley team attended a series of presentations and had a number of fascinating conversations around our booth on the congress floor.

In addition to offering delegates the opportunity to virtually walk through some of the practice’s latest designs via a virtual reality headset, the Hames Sharley booth was designed to encourage attendees to provide their own opinions on topics that we collectively described as ‘The National Conversation’ – and the participant’s feedback and engagement far surpassed all expectations.

In the months leading up to the event, the Hames Sharley Urban Development team gathered together a list of discussion points that they considered the hottest topics that will affect Australians over the coming decades. These were:- Big Data; Social and Community Engagement; The Rise of Smart Cities; Urban Sprawl; and Autonomous Vehicles.

Having settled upon the topics, the team then set about researching and gathering the latest published opinions and predictions as starting points for conversations at the Congress. As the event got underway, the team took great satisfaction from having a strong finger on the national pulse, as many of PIA’s keynote speakers selected the same subjects to discuss.

The comments and opinions we gathered from delegates and speakers have already inspired further research. In coming weeks and months we will publish a series of articles that take a deeper dive on these subjects.

In particular, Social and Community Engagement was a recurring theme of the Congress. Having won the Hard-Won Victory Award at the Institute’s WA State level, Hames Sharley project, Serpentine Jarrahdale 2050 was among the nominees for the national prize. Despite not picking up the national award, the team took satisfaction from this project having garnered a great degree of engagement with the Shire’s local communities throughout the process.

Hames Sharley would like to congratulate PIA on a tremendously successful national planning forum. Our team gained some invaluable insights from some of the country’s finest minds in the realm of urban planning and left the Congress confident that the sector is in safe hands.