Urban Synergies Group: Planning by and for the people- Global and local experts work together with community to “Make Canberra a Human-centred City”

Urban Synergies Group: Planning by and for the people- Global and local experts work together with community to “Make Canberra a Human-centred City”

People of the Australian capital Canberra are coming together this weekend to co-design a charter for human-centred urban development, seeking to make sure that we implement the New Urban Agenda with a whole of community approach and to make sure as Canberra grows, it is planned by and for local communities in a healthy environment.

Global expert on human-centred urban design, Debra Efroymson, is visiting Canberra and helping to lead the co-design workshop with local leaders Gregor Mews of the Urban Synergies Group, Edwina Robinson of SEE-Change, and Tim Hollo of The Green Institute.

The session, to be held at Gorman Arts Centre on Saturday afternoon of 13th October is open to all, will include introductory remarks from the hosts and other global leaders including Dr. Timothy Beatley introducing the concept of Biophilic Cities and Mr. Darren Sharp speaking on the Urban Commons and Sharing Cities. Together with children, young people and adults of all ages we engage in a facilitated discussion to develop a charter that reflects a shared vision towards our common urban future.

Gregor Mews emphasis that the Canberra community is hungry to shift the paradigm from talking to action and seeks to implement the New Urban Agenda. A shared and context specific vision designed by Canberrans for Canberrans is an essential foundation to enable transformative but tangible change towards an urban future where no one is left behind. Further Greg stresses that children are the greatest indicator species for a healthy environment. If we can get the conditions right for them, we can get it right for everyone. Furthermore, co-organiser Ms Edwina Robinson highlights that Canberra has been designed around the car. We need to rethink our city and suburbs to include a network of active transport opportunities and design for nature, like green roofs and walls, rain gardens and large leafy trees. Tim Hollo is critical of the prevailing paradigm and stresses that Canberra has a thriving sharing and commons community, and many more people who care about how the city develops, but our planning systems aren’t up to scratch. Getting people back into the heart of the planning is vital, and this session will be an exciting part of that process.


Article by Gregor Mews
Photo Credits: Urban Synergies Group (CC)