16 April 2018

A new platform for community to shape future city design

| Suzanne Orr MLA
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Over the past 12 months, I have worked closely with the Giralang community to design and deliver a quality community park. What I have enjoyed most about this process is seeing firsthand how conversations with people in the community can enrich design.

I was an urban planner before I entered the Assembly, so I have an active interest in how we design our city. Last year, I hosted the first Making Space Initiative event, an evening with decision makers, MLAs and built environment professionals, engaged in discussion with members of the local community.

The Making Space Initiative is a forum that brings together architects, urban planners, landscape architects and engineers to discuss the challenges we face in planning our city. The forum recognises the different approaches each profession takes and the need to find consensus where possible.

The theme of the night was “Home” and five Canberrans spoke about where they live, and how they live there. When you organise an event like this for the first time, you are never sure how it is going to turn out, but we were very fortunate to have five entirely different presentations that covered a broad range of engaging and enlightening topics.

What was obvious from the presentations was that each individual’s needs and wants differ from one another. It drove home the message that there is no one size fits all approach to housing and that it is the conversations we have with our communities as MLAs that brings that into focus.

This year, the Making Space Initiative’s theme is ‘Socialise’. We are asking five more people to tell us what they get up to, and what they would like to do if given the opportunity. We expect this will again present a diverse set of needs in how we each enjoy the city we live in.

This year the forum will take place over two nights. Our presenters will speak on the first evening on 18 April, and the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions and to frame up a discussion for later in the year.

In October, a second event will involve a panel discussion. Representatives from the built environment professions working in both the private and public sectors will be led in discussion by questions and comments from the audience. This event will seek to offer approaches to how we together can better plan our city in light of the information provided in the April forum.

The Making Space Initiative “Socialise” will take place on Wednesday 18 April at 5:15 pm at the ACT Legislative Assembly Reception Room. If you’re interested in joining in on discussion, visit www.makingspacecanberra.com/upcoming-events.

Suzanne Orr MLA is Member for Yerrabi in the ACT Legislative Assembly. Before being elected to the Assembly, Suzanne worked at the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development as an urban planner.

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