Why good design matters


Malcolm Snow / 03 May 2020

While the City Renewal Precinct is the heart of Canberra, design excellence is at the heart of the City Precinct Renewal Program and the work of the Authority. It is through the application of high-quality design that we will achieve the urban renewal outcomes that will benefit Canberrans for decades to come.

Design excellence isn’t just about making things that look great, although creating a sense of civic pride in our city’s buildings and public spaces is important. It’s also about providing demonstrable social, economic and environmental benefits for our community as together we undertake the transformation of our growing city.

Experience from other cities around the world shows that investing in good design doesn’t need to be expensive, but that when cities do, they reap ongoing rewards for government, the private sector and the wider community. Without doubt good design adds economic value through attractive and high-quality development that realizes higher returns on investment, contributes to a more productive workforce and reduces management, maintenance, energy and security costs. It also adds enormous social and environmental value by creating well-connected, inclusive and accessible places with facilities and services that equitably support the needs of all citizens, not just a lucky few.

Thoughtful urban design well-executed, particularly in the renewal context, reads and responds to the existing character of a place and the people in them, which is why the Authority applies a place making approach to our projects. In short, design excellence is a critical prerequisite in creating popular public spaces, beautiful buildings – places that work for the people who will use them. For more on this important topic see: https://urbandesign.org.au/content/uploads/2015/08/INFRA1219_MCU_R_SQUARE_URBAN_PROTOCOLS_1111_WEB_FA2.pdf

We are committed to creating memorable places that people want to spend time in - a precinct full of places that people love, and love to use. That is why we are passionate advocates for design excellence in how we go about our renewal program. Motivated to lead by example in how we implement our renewal initiatives we unapologetically expect the same from those we partner with.

In our role as a referral agency for development applications within our Precinct we apply the same design standards to those who want to contribute to its renewal. When reviewing new proposals, either before development applications are lodged or during the statutory process, we apply our nine design principles to ensure high-quality outcomes that contribute to its revitalization. If you would like to read more about them I encourage you to go to our website www.cityrenewalCBR.com.au

Malcolm Snow

Headshot of CEO Malcolm Snow

Malcolm Snow is the Chief Executive of the City Renewal Authority. Malcolm Snow joined the City Renewal Authority following a diverse career leading major city revitalisation programs throughout Australia, Asia and the United Kingdom. Previously he has been Chief Executive of the National Capital Authority, Head of Design with the City of Melbourne, Director of international consulting firm Urbis and, CEO of South Bank Corporation in Brisbane.

Banner image via 5 Foot Photography as part of Design Canberra 2017. Graphic in Civic Square designed by Jodie Cunningham.


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