A short library of reports and resources from projects and partnerships. All are already in the public domain in one way or another. All of them seek to shift how we think of design away from the appearance of something, to the invisible forces at play; the means of procurement and delivery, and the cultural presets at work.

Change. Architecture. Discuss. April 2016

A short primer intended to position the practice architecture in the broader domain of

Measuring up: innovation and the value-add of architecture

A research collaboration with UTS Architecture and Business School to take the first steps towards measuring the value of architecture beyond the built asset alone.

Integrated Design Commission

Any big initiative needs some kind of strategic architecture to be in place to give it its agency. This includes having the imprimatur of political leadership. But can design and architecture ever be woven in to a narrative that works for mainstream media and general public? On South Australia’s Proclamation Day 2009, Premier Mike Rann delivered a speech that laid the groundwork for the Integrated Design Commission saying: “I want South Australia to be as celebrated for excellence in design as we are for our wines, our festivals, our leadership in renewable energy”. Download the Premiers-speech.

_An Australian First: We saw ourselves as an Australian first; combining the capability of design disciplines from the scale of product to the scale of place, as well as the intelligence of practice, research and education.

_Connecting the dots: we also saw ourselves as a small unit that worked between agencies of government, between disciplines and between sectors.

_A City projects plan showing the sites, precincts and connections the Commission influenced, advised on or advocated for. Many of these have gone on to be announcements, projects or germs in people’s thoughts.

_Tracking the Integrated Design Sector: almost one of the first projects to get started was an objective audit on the scale or the design sector in the South Australian economy. By working from Aus/NZ employment classifications and ABS data we mapped the value of the sector for the first time in SA; revealing a sector contributing $2.7bn annually to the economy.

_Economic Benefits of city activation and renewal was research commissioned in partnership with Renew Australia and SGS Planning & Economics for the first ever backcast business case on the success of Renew Newcastle. It also projected the benefits of city activation resulting from the 5000+ project in Adelaide; highlighting a 10:1 return on investment by leveraging the collective energies of young entrepreneurs in the city.

_Design South Australia: was almost a follow up to mapping the scale of the sector, to showcase what the sector can do. That’s one of the reasons we wanted to produce an ‘atlas’ of design process and product from across the state. Thanks to tireless work from a volunteer editorial panel comprising industry, university and government, and design work by Voice Design, we launched this hardcopy in 2012.

_10 drivers of integration is a summary infographic that illustrates the traits, tools & characteristics that need to be in place for an integrated approach to urban renewal.

_6 phases of integration outlines the logic behind the integrated design strategy we designed for South Australia. Work to draft the strategy started in 2009. Funding was secured in 2010. The work was publicly launched in 2011, with results exhibited in 2012. So great to see policy reform in late 2013; in areas of housing, transport, open space and planning.

_3 enablers of integration outlines the case for aligning the planets by aligning interests; putting agreements in place, having brokers and boundary spanners to hand, and the vexed question of shared implementation.

_Future streams was a visual map prepared to explore how the extraordinary scope of the Integrated Design Commission could be devolved in light of the governments’ decision to defund an initiative of its predecessor. Used as a conversation tool, the diagram envisaged how some of the work could continue in partnership with a range of players outside of government

Integrated Design Strategy documents

_5000+ Summary is what it claims to be; a high level look at the overall components of the Strategy. A primer.

A vimeo podcast at the opening the Vibrant City forum as part of 5000+, encouraging workshop participants to consider the city as a platform for chance encounters, innovation and creativity. Not just the hardware of buildings, streets and pipes.

_Atlas of Urban Excellence; an early overview of the aims and objectives of the Integrated Design Strategy for Inner Adelaide, as well as a reference document of projects, policies and programs sourced locally, nationally and globally

_Great ideas for a great city; intended as an explanatory memo on the design-based engagement that the Integrated Design Strategy (5000+) prototyped. A really useful summary of case studies and techniques we used, including those we borrowed from, stole or adapted to suit the scale and scope of such a broad civic scale process of engagement.

_Context and Issues report; a deep, strategic understanding of the existing context in which cities are placed, and a great example of how deep-seated issues can be drawn out from research to pose the big questions for policy makers and communities. P116 onwards seeks to name and shame just some of the sacred cows.

_Creating a Regenerative Adelaide is an essay by Herbert Giradet, co-founder of The World Future Council and inaugural Adelaide Thinker in Residence. In this short piece, Giradet runs a ruler over a number of initiatives that put Adelaide towards the front of global moves to develop new integrated models of urbanisation that allow cities to be liveable and economically viable as well as environmentally regenerative.

_Placeshaping Framework; this is essentially the summary recommendations that emerged from the project so can seem a little out of context if read by itself.  The scope of the recommendations cover people, place and process; again demonstrating that delivering reform in cities is as much about the regulatory and cultural frame in which projects are delivered, as the projects themselves.

_Patterns of Living explored how design-led planning could engage through new models of living – not the traditional post war zonal planning alone. Living well along major roads; smaller housing nestled in our hidden laneways, and development to complement Australia’s major road and light rail infrastructure.

_Revitalising Adelaides West is an introduction on why Adelaide’s South Rd needs to be viewed as more than just a road widening project, and more as a once in a generation renewal project for Adelaide’s western edge

_All around Australia, heritage buildings lie vacant because of the onerous requirements to achieve compliance with building codes and standards. But you can’t skimp on safety, right? So is there a model that would allow building owners to invest what’s needed and give the city the benefit of having those buildings brought to life again? They’re called Development transfer incentives and there’s lots to learn from how NYC used them to revitalise mid town.

_Adelaide’s ‘East Village Diaspora‘ starts with the premise that young creative entrepreneurs want to play a role breathing life into places, but are often locked out for a number of reasons. Using simple research methods with a lens on real places, NEH and Donovan Hill propose a low cost, high impact game of match making for urban renewal (large file)

_Adelaide city block asked how we can develop large precincts in our cities in more strategic ways – to get more from development for everyone. Working with ARUP and Hassell, we wanted to measure the benefits of large scale master planning in terms of vibrancy, health and sustainability and to do this by comparing business as usual, with an informed approach, and an optimal approach. Not surprisingly, implementing larger development gave more options and more choice, with more benefits flowing to the city. But only if design strategy was allowed to drive decisions.

_’Eat.Play.Love.‘ brings together the very human needs to eat, play & love in a place, with lessons from the past to plan a future for Kent Town that is tailored to its character, and with enough people to support small local businesses and active streets. A smart collaboration between Tectvs, Deloitte, University of Adelaide, Cibo, Wax design and others.

_Most metropolitan planning strategies focus on putting people where the services are; trams, buses, shops and schools. So how can we live well on our arterial roads? NEH looked at Adelaide’s King William Rd, Unley as an example here.

_Australian cities all share an industrial past. So can we revitalise these areas without losing the history of those places that forged the character of the city in the first place? Hassell’s ‘Best in the west turns Mile End’s light industrial and concrete canals in to a place of desire.

_Adelaide’s CBD is ringed by once-grand terraces, now dominated by traffic. Life on the Edge shows how the western edge of the CBD could be more than just car yards and petrol stations; injecting value into land and drawing the park lands back in to the city.

_Adelaide’s park lands are the oldest reserved public parks in the world. But years of contest and conflict, underinvestment have left them tired and vacant at many times of the day. Oxigen worked with us to plan a better future for Adelaide’s park lands – seeing them as a Great Metro Park connecting new communities around the city centre.

_Visitors arriving from the airport, to Adelaide’s city centre are currently welcomed by a petrol station and fast food outlet. But our Grote St Gateway can be much more if we made some strategic moves.

_Bank to Bentham is a winding urban path through the city; delivering football fans and cricket tragics to food and watering holes in lane ways and the eat streets of Waymouth & Gouger.

_Las Rundley is a fusion of Hindley St, Rundle Mall, Rundle St and lessons from Barcelona’s Las Rumblas – a sprawling boulevard that carves its cosmopolitan path through the city.

_City heart proves that Adelaide’s centre is more than Victoria Square; and includes the Courts precinct, and privately held land anchoring the NW corner and the iconic Central Markets.

_The Northern Edge illustrates why the great Riverbank area is more than just a series of buildings, but works as a single great public space connecting the city to the river, sport, culture and learning; new and old; buildings and landscape.

_Keswick lies to Adelaide’s west, disconnected from the city by railyards and a dramatic fall in the land. While outlying developments in Adelaide’s Hills – like Mt Barker – offer low density well away from transport and services, a revitalised Keswick can be a place of connected communities within walking distance of the city.


_Recipes for Systemic Change, Helsinki Design Lab: describes itself as “a hybrid between a philosophical operations manual and an operational philosophy” on the place for design as a strategic tool for processing complexity and developing prototypes for change. Great series of strategies, operational techniques and journal entries describing the work of one of the brightest teams around…or as they put it, it’s a ‘case study in applied optimism’.

_An Integrated Design Strategy for South Australia, Prof Laura Lee. This is Laura’s report prepared as part of her 2008-09 term as Thinker in Residence. Developed with a partnership of government agencies, professional peak bodies and universities in support, this work became the foundation for South Australia’s government to establish the Integrated Design Commission.

_Boundary spanning: the gatekeeper of innovation is a great little paper from Sean Ansett, Director of Partnerships with GAP Clothing. His job was to bring clothes to market before consumers knew they wanted them; his challenge was to integrate a complex supply chain to be more responsive. In this short essay, Ansett’s explores the mindset capabilities that are needed to integrate. And while it doesn’t directly address design thinking or design skillsets, it covers similar ground borrowing from a different lexicon.

_MassLocalism is a term used to describe the shift from top down to crowd-sourced change. This work by the excellent UK think tank, NESTA is a guide to policymakers on the rise of mass localism, why is remains untapped, and strategies NESTA use to harness.

_Restarting Britain 2 builds on work by the UK parliament that positioned design education firmly as an imperative in economic growth. This inquiry asked how design could now be extended to aid policy design for better legislation, and better public services in the 21st C at a time when more is needed from less.

_Constellation Collaboration is an attempt by Canada’s Centre for Social Innovation to sketch out an alternative model of shared governance for when shared decision making is needed. And while the need for shared models of governance are a common cry in Australia, few invest in the design of organisations and decision structures like this.

_Vision for Danish design in 2020 is the sort of policy statement we all wish our own local government’s could claim as their own. From a small committee of six people in 2010-2011, Denmark states it’s position on design as an essential capability in their strategic infrastructure to support local innovation.

_Design policy in Wales is a design policy for Wales, UK first published in 2002. The policy covers planning, changing infrastructure, responses to risks from flood and climate change, transport and streets.

_Mission for Finland sets the standard for a national branding strategy. Avoiding the usual lurch to a graphic, the work was prepared by a group of industry and community leaders – all entirely outside of government. It includes the purposely madcap statements like ‘we want people to stop asking is there a doctor on board, and start asking – is there a Finn on board?’

Australian knowledge base

_Australia’s Built Environment Industry Innovation Council included representatives from government, industry, trades, and tertiary sector. It’s FinalReportToGovernment2012 neatly distilled a range of challenges facing Australia’s built environment; headlined by the consensus that, after textiles and automotive, construction has the potential to be Australia’s next ‘failed sector’.

_Transforming Australian Cities was an instant hit when launched in 2009. Copied many times since, the focus of this paper was on turning our gaze inwards to those parts of our cities with existing infrastructure as a way of alleviating ballooning infrastructure costs and ensuring the amenity we all look for in where we live.

_Measuring Up: the value add of architecture to the innovation economy. A research project with UTS to explore the value of architecture beyond the object alone (often measured through property or construction-related metrics).

_Australia Competing By Design Report. This 1995 review, chaired by Desmond Freeman, remains the most recent definitive survey of Australian design, its profile and potential. It’s analysis and recommendations are just as relevant today, which may be unsurprising given little action has been evident by government at any level or political party since.

_Framework for a Community Engagement Strategy is a proposal put together by ARUP and Naked Communications in response to a call from government (via the Built Environment Industry Innovation Council) for a way to engage people in the positive potential of a better built environment. Instead of a website, empathic-but-disempowered middle tier bureaucrats and endless post-it note sessions, this framework really looked at options to promote a ‘pull’ in the market towards ‘better’.


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