Paul Mees – his final words on transport planning

Paul Mees who was recognised as one of the most influential planners in Australia in 2011 by the Planning Issue, passed away this week after battling with cancer. Mees a public transport advocate, known for his incisive debate on transport issues continued his vocal support for public transport right up until 6 weeks ago when he spoke to 7.30 Victoria about Melbourne’s planned East West Link.

Mees, a transport academic had this to say about transport planning in Melbourne.

“The government have decided on the basis (as far as I can work out) of no evidence what so ever, to prioritise roads. I think the evidence from around the world shows that as a city gets bigger and bigger you have to prioritise rail and public transport…”

We hope that his passion and concern for these issues will live on in future generations of urban and transport planners influenced by his research.

For more on Paul Mees read Matthew Burke’s ‘Vale Paul Mees, Australia’s leading transport & land use researcher’ on The Conversation.

Urban Voices book released

Urban Voices coverpage of book

Urban Voices was recently released to celebrate the 100th edition of the Urban Design Forum. The book Urban Voices looks at urban design in Australia over the past 25 years and looks ahead to the challenges for the next 25 years.  It contains contributions from a wide range of people interested in how our cities and towns function and the quality of life they deliver.

The book acknowledges that urban design in Australia is a work in progress, with the past 25 years seeing radical changes in nearly all spheres of life in Australia, and the world.  These changes include climate change, population and household structure, immigration movements and urbanisation, as well as media and communications, finance, and governance.

For more on the past, present and future of urban design in Australia purchase Urban Voices or check out the Urban Design Forum for urban design news and updates.

Jane’s Walk

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” — Jane Jacobs, ‘The Death and Life of Great American Cities’

This year, Jane’s Walk will be held on the weekend of the 4th and 5th of May. Jane’s Walk is an exciting event that orginated in Canada with the purpose of promoting the legendary ideas and legacy of urbanist Jane Jacobs.

Free walking tours are led by locals in a community who want to to create a space for residents to talk about what matters to them in the places they live and work. Jane’s Walk encourages people to explore their neighbourhoods and meet others in their community.

Since its inception in Toronto in 2007, Jane’s Walk has expanded rapidly and in May 2011, 511 walks were held in 75 cities in 15 countries worldwide.

The vision of Jane’s Walk is for walkable neighbourhoods, urban literacy and cities planned for and by people.

So are there any walks being held in Australia? From what we can see there is currently one registered walk in Adelaide and one in Melbourne. Not many, so as the website says, if there are no walks in your city… be the first!

For more information go to



UR[BNE] Film Festival

UR[BNE] Film Festival is held annually in Brisbane Australia and features a range of films to inspire urban design, architecture and design thinking. The film festival will be held on the 13 April this year and includes opportunities for critical discussion and networking.

Films to be screened include:

Following the screening there will be a Q&A on the themes of the festival (urban farming, skate design, architecture, public spaces and landscape design) with:

  • Katherine Skull (Bee One Third)
  • Amy Saunders (QLD Emerging Design Award Winner 2012)
  • Malcom Middleton (Queensland Government Architect)
  • Scott Shearer (Brisbane Skateboarding Association)

The film festival will be from 2 – 8pm on Saturday 13 April 2013 in Auditorium 1,
Level 2, State Library of Queensland. Cost is $15 per person.

Tickets can be purchased in advance from
Food is included in the ticket price and will be provided by Street Food Australia.

The film festival is presented by SLQ’s SLiQ Flicks and Asia Pacific Design Library in support of the UR[BNE] Festival held in April/May in Brisbane, Australia.

Australia’s Ultimate Planned City Turns 100!

Illuminated building Canberra

Canberra, Australia’s ultimate planned city turns 100 this year. To acknowledge this coming of age a spectacular round of events is about to commence to celebrate this significant milestone.

For urban planning and design tragics there is a range of upcoming events and activities which should be of interest including:

We look forward to giving you more information on how the March month of madness in Canberra unfolds.

Please send us a message at if there are any other planning and design events that we have missed.


Design 29: Creating a Capital

Design 29

The Design 29: Creating a Capital exhibition at the National Archives of Australia showcases the designs shortlisted  for the 1911 Federal Capital City Design Competition for Canberra.

The exhibit displays many of the the original entries of the design finalists and is an interactive exhibit that utilises augmented reality technology on iPads, to imagine how Canberra might have looked today, had some of these designs been realised.

The exhibit will be running from 1 March to 8 September 2013 at the National Archives of Australia, Queen Victoria Terrace, Parkes, Canberra.

See the ABC news report for further information on the Design 29 exhibit.



CAPITheticAL Design Competition

capithetical design entry

The CAPITheticAL Exhibition will be on display at the Gallery of Australian Design Canberra from the 6th of March 2013. This exhibition will showcase the finalists of the CAPITheticAL international design competition.

Entrants were asked to respond to the following questions:

  • Would you build a new capital today or could the Australian Federation be expressed in a different way?
  • Would it be a city in the conventional sense or not? If not, what form might it take?
  • What ideas would drive its design and development?
  • How would 21st century social, political and environmental factors influence the nature of the city?
  • Of what should our national capital consist?

The exhibition will present a range of ideas that will provoke, amuse and surprise.

Plans, videos and drawings have been used to express each designer’s vision for the city of the future and offer imaginative resolutions to questions of national symbolism and identity, access to government, sustainable development and community building.

Winners of the competition will be announced on the 14 March and the exhibition will be open until 11th May 2013.  Entry to the exhibition is free.