As architects we are well aware of the impact our built work has in the community. Positively, we are instrumental in providing inspiring places for people to live or enjoy recreation, facilities where things are produced or services provided and public spaces where the population is educated and well-being is fostered. Inevitably, development means change – and change is not always welcome.
Edmiston Jones wants to better understand how planning processes can incorporate the lived experience of communities and we have partnered with the University of Wollongong to sponsor a one-year honours project to explore this controversial issue. Current development processes are clunky. They tend to pit proponents and the community against each other rather than capitalising on the wisdom that can be gained from different perspectives. This project will combine interviews and focus groups to identify resident attachments to their homes and neighbourhoods, perceptions of development, and responses to a range of future planning scenarios in regional Australia.
Bellambi Community Engagement
Candidates for the honours project must have completed, or be in the final semester of a relevant bachelor degree from an aligned disciplines such as planning, architecture or the built environment. Applicants will be selected for their interest in human geography, urban planning and community development – we’ll be looking for strong skills in independent analysis and a flair for writing! As part of the selection process, potential candidates will be invited to ‘pitch’ a key area of interest around which to build their thesis study with a focus on citizen engagement in evolving communities.
The thesis will focus on the contemporary challenges and issues that development raises in the community, with all topics of interest and relevance to be considered. Applicants will consider the potential tensions between residents and proposed neighbourhood change and the significance of gaining a better understanding of community perceptions and experiences. Throughout the honours year the successful student will be required to present key phases of the research to Edmiston Jones as well as the UOW School of Geography and Sustainable Communities. We will provide industry experience to ensure that the academic research has a practical application.
Our ambition is to have this research continue with a PhD as a more intensive investigation to inform investors, Government and all those influencing the evolving built environment, how to achieve a more effective, engaging development process.