Architects applaud Smart Cities Plan

The Australian Institute of Architects welcomes the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Smart Cities Plan released at the Cities Summit in Melbourne on Friday 29 April.

Professor Ken Maher, President Elect of the Institute congratulates the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP and Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, the Hon Angus Taylor MP on an ambitious and timely plan for Australian cities.

‘The Institute is passionate about improving the quality of our built environment and addressing the urban challenges Australia is facing. Cities have been the orphan of public policy in the past and architects have long advocated that the Federal government focus on Australia’s future towns and cities. This plan places cities firmly on the agenda.

‘Architects are firm believers in strategic capital city planning to promote globally competitive, productive, sustainable and socially inclusive cities’ Prof Maher said.

The initiative was warmly received by the profession when it was discussed at the National Architecture Conference held in Adelaide on April 30.

A year in planning, the conference heard from international and national speakers about the critical role architects provide in creating quality for our cities, infrastructure and places.

In the ‘Transforming Populations’ session of the conference, chaired by Prof Maher, the panel discussed the bold ambition to create 30 minute cities. Strong support was voiced for the creation of a vision for Australian cities of the future where density is done well, where infrastructure planning follows strategic urban planning, where there is less reliance on cars and better transport connections, and where communities are brought together in a way that supports liveability and sustainability.

‘Collaboration between all levels of government and industry is the key to making City Deals a success,’ according to Prof Maher.

‘One area that has not been addressed is the critical importance of design in building the cities of tomorrow. While the plan includes an examination of housing supply and planning changes, it is essential that architecture and design skills are used early to test possibilities and to produce social and equitable cities. Design quality should be a mandatory requirement for all project funding.’

‘We will be looking closely at the Smart Cities Plan over the coming weeks to provide further input. I encourage the Federal government to engage with the Australian Institute of Architects and the Government Architects Network of Australia in refining and implementing the Plan.’