Future Urban Visions and local realities in WA


This paper, primarily intended as a ‘snapshot’ for visiting overseas professionals, offers a brief independent overview of the local planning and design context and recent outcomes as seen from both a community consumer and professional perspective.-

Future urban living environments in our advancing civilisation should ideally be the outcome of creative integrated design of buildings and spaces between them, in purpose-built comprehensively designed assemblies that are both highly functional in use and provide a kaleidoscope of joyful living experiences to the inhabitants.

The challenge of new and evolving ‘realities’ is both extraordinarily exciting and liberating to any professional designer, but must somehow be communicated to Planning decision-makers and financial facilitators. That will only be achieved if we can simultaneously engage genuine Community support. It is ultimately the Community who will have to experience and pay for the resulting outcomes.

Realities today in WA are explained – ‘Devising the rules for and administering ‘building and development control’ can never replace creative Planning of Future Environments, yet most of us in WA today would be hard-pressed to find where the actual creative part occurs? The reality is that it is currently ad hoc and mainly relies on the whim of individual Developers and Builders as to what extent they will risk maximum profitability by gambling ‘selectively’ on engaging, then following,- the advice of creative private-sector professional urban planners, architects and designers – who are usually the only ones who make comprehensive planning specifically their business.

Present-day consequences -‘Suburban areas of Perth are not being designed and planned to develop a sense of community. Families and young people are being obliged to retract into self-centred dependence with no sense of local belonging, leading to anti-social behaviour otherwise avoidable with an alternative professional design team approach to planning.

Local comparative advantages of magnificent siting, climate and bio diverse resources are being squandered unnecessarily by large areas of poorly planned development.

Concluding – that actual results from the Official Planning system we have in WA are now anachronistic and neither fair nor equitable when assessed against current social outcomes and potential environmental quality. Fresh clarity of planning purpose must be secured at the highest levels from revised political leadership objectives and translated through constituencies built throughout the system, to achieve maximum efficiency of response to opportunities – which most of our professional designers do already understand.

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