COALAR Planning Connections Program

Planning Connections Program

The Planning Institute of Australia (PIA), in collaboration with the Professional Board of Architecture and Urbanism in Argentina (CPAU), created the Planning Connections Program in 2012 to develop long-term links and cooperation between urban planners and planning institutions in Australia and their counterparts in Latin America, especially Argentina. PIA was awarded funding for this program from the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR, Australian Government). The Planning Connections Program seeks to forge sustainable professional and institutional ties, opening up new opportunities for cross country collaboration and awareness. The key objective of the program is to promote greater exchange of knowledge in best practice planning.

To date, the Program has consisted of two main lines of activities (see below), which have led to the creation of many other affiliated sub-projects.

An international online seminar for the global planning community on mega-events and their legacy in cities, with a focus on Australian and Latin American cities in 2012; and

A planning tour of Australia for senior Argentine and Uruguayan planners in 2013. This experience has cemented professional and institutional ties across planning industries with a focus on planning matters facing our cities.

PIA Online Seminar ‘After the Celebration: The Legacy of Events’

As part of the COALAR Planning Connections Program, PIAAs part of the seminar, PIA was able to bring together planners from around the globe to build shared knowledge on events and the urban planning strategies used to bring about change in cities. Full recordings and papers of the conference can be accessed here.

Planning Tour of Australia

The Planning Connections Program Tour of Australia brought together senior representatives from the Australian, Argentine and Uruguayan planning community through a two (2) week planning tour of Australia in March 2013. Representatives from different planning industry sectors from Argentina, from government employees to private consultants, were brought to Australia to meet with their Australian counterparts and explore the results of best practice planning within major capital cities. The main objective of the program was to forge professional and institutional ties in planning in order to shed light on innovative approaches to shared issues in cities across Argentina and Australia.

Before leaving Argentina, the study group met with Australian Ambassador Patricia Holmes at the Australian Embassy in Buenos Aires (See photo above). Also, prior to the trip, the group met to outline the priorities for the Australian planning tour and to discuss Australian history, geography, governance and planning frameworks over three sessions (See photos above).

In summary, the program was a total success. The group arrived in Sydney on the 10th of March and was immediately impressed by the beautiful setting, the high quality urban design and attention to public space in downtown Sydney. The first day began with an introduction to metropolitan planning by Patrick Fensham at SGS Economics and Planning and a discussion on infrastructure planning. In the afternoon, Sue Holliday led us on a tour of ´urban renewal´ along Sydney´s coast from The Rocks and Walsh Bay down to the development site of the new Bangaroo project. In the early evening we met with planning and design professors from The University of Sydney, including Prof. Peter Phibbs and Prof. Paul Jones to discuss planning teaching and research, which later led to a dinner over great Italian food near the campus (Hear more from Paul Jones on this experience). Each successive day played out in a similar fashion; a packed program with engaging presentations by Australian planners and insightful questions and comments by the Argentine and Uruguayan delegates.

The above images, in a clockwise direction, are from Parramatta Town Hall following a meeting with council planners, then at SGS Economics and Planning where Patrick Fensham gave a presentation on metropolitan planning in Sydney, then with Sue Holiday on a urban renewal walking tour along Syndey´s waterfront and finally with some of the University of Sydney´s planning and urban design professors at dinner after a urban planning curricula workshop.

The group then moved on to Melbourne, where they visited a range of professionals in the planning field, including at the City of Melbourne, The University of Melbourne, Hansen Partnership, SGS Economics and Planning, the Department of Planning and Community Development, and then to Canberra for the 2013 PIA National Congress. One of the program’s participants, Alfredo Garay, gave a key note presentation on strategic planning in Argentina. We also had the pleasure of meeting with Ambassador Pedro Villagra Delgado from the Embassy of Argentina and were able to mutually reflect on the similarities and differences between the two nations and our cities.

The above image shows the group with Prof. Donald Bates from The University of Melbourne on a tour of the Federation Square urban project in Melbourne. The below images are of Alfredo Garay delivering his key note address at the PIA National Congress in 2013 and of the group visiting Ambassador Pedro Villagra Delgado.

Connections were forged and plans were made to continue the exchange as the planners made their way through the two week program. Many of the delegates have written up their reflections in the online journal café de las ciudades in Spanish, see for example Celina Caporossi´s article on Parallel Worlds or Cecilia s piece on Shared Territories. Works from Australia have also been translated into Spanish and published, for example the groundbreaking Urban Design Protocol by the Australian Government in the same publication. Each of the participants also prepared an article for circulation in the PIA ENews, and can be downloaded from the below links:

A Comparative Study on Australia and Argentina Andres Borthagaray

Comparing Australia and Argentina (between fiction and reality) Celina Caporossi

View of Melbourne by Argentinian planner Marcelo Corti

Planning and urban management challenges facing Buenos Aires Carolina Ipes

Roles and profiles of planners in Australia and Argentina Daniel Kozak

Urban Growth Trends in Buenos Aires and Sydney. The Role of the State. Demián Rotbart

The CPAU -the counterpart organisation of the Planning Institute of Australia- organised a post-trip seminar series in July 2013 for the participants to share their knowledge with the broader urban planning community in Buenos Aires. Furthermore, they invited Australian urban planner Patrick Fensham to attend the Arquisur and Bienal de Arquitectura in September 2013 to continue building ties between the region. 2014 will see the launch of the CPAU book on the exchange experience with Australia and has also marked the launch of The Cities’ Café, an online journal for the encounter of knowledge about cities that was born out of the Planning Connections Program and ongoing success of the café de las ciudades journal. Many of those involved in building connections between the two regions in the field of urban planning will also meet again at the UPE11 conference to be held in La Plata in September 2014.

Photo taken from the post-trip seminar organised by the CPAU in Buenos Aires in July 2013. Promotional image from one of Patrick Fensham’s public seminars in Buenos Aires.

Overall, the Planning Connections Program has been an inspiring experience for all involved and an important piece of the puzzle in bringing together reflections, shared experiences and future projects between Australia, Argentina and Uruguay.

The Argentine and Uruguayan delegates who made this fruitful exchange possible in the beginning with the Australian planning tour were Alfredo Garay, Andrés Borthagaray, Cecilia Larivera, Celina Caporossi, Demián Rotbart, Dr. Daniel Kozak, Federico Bervejillo, Dr. Flavio Janches and Marcelo Corti.

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