Updates to the State Planning Legislation
It is no secret that with technology; increasingly burgeoning legislative controls and the modern multidisciplinary workforce places many complex demands on the architect in daily practice. Demands that often see their time distributed – often in unequal measure – between the more tangible requirements set by day to day management, and the crucially intangible, but often overlooked practice of design. So it might seem reasonable that occasionally the profession in general might question where architectures agency lies in the production of the built environment. Speak to many architects of what they do and the answer might be surprising. More to the point it may even lack conviction when the topic of design is mentioned. However the industry might be about to get a long awaited shot in the arm from the most unlikely of sources; the media, the internet and the NSW Government.
The digital era of the web has allowed for the easy sharing of images. Popular access to high quality design images through apps and popular media has created awareness among the general public of the benefits of good design. We might confidently argue that we are not yet at the stage where everyone is a design connoisseur, but it is now widely accepted that that the idea of poorly designed buildings being hard live in and hard to sell to sell and lease has filtered into a general collective psyche. The key words here are design and design awareness. Effected in part by this growing collective sentiment toward the benefits of good design and the need to stem the rise poorly considered developments – the NSW government has unveiled its intention to implement reforms to the state’s planning laws. Reforms which intend to see the role of design rightly promoted to centre stage in the production of the NSW built environment.
The summary of proposals states: “The design object, if implemented, will ensure that design is considered and balanced with the other objects of the EP&A Act. For example, the promotion of good design will be considered in a framework that also promotes land use planning that encourages economic development and the principles of ecologically sustainable development. This will be the task of decision makers in the context of both strategic planning and development assessments.” (Cheng 2017). As architects even the slightest recognition of the importance of design is uplifting, even better is the intention to implement legislation that sees good design become the main focus in any construction related undertaking in NSW. For practicing architects throughout NSW it is important to embrace the opportunities such reforms might bring and champion any attempt at enhancing the often less tangible, but vital, aspects of our daily practice. Reforms such as these will in part give back to architects a sense of confidence regarding exactly where the agency of our profession lies. More importantly it is hoped that this breath of fresh air will ultimately translate into bricks and mortar sooner rather than later – which is the intention. Here at McCullum Ashby architects we eagerly await the opportunity to incorporate these legislative reforms into our practice so we can continue to build upon our already existing portfolio of high quality designs.
For a link to a summary of the draft proposals click here.
Cheng, (2017). Good design to be championed in NSW planning law, http://architectureau.com/articles/good-design-to-be-enshrined-in-nsw-planning-laws/?utm_source=ArchitectureAU&utm_campaign=35fef294b5-