Master Planning, or indeed simply good planning, is key for any project to come to successful fruition over time. Significant projects generally develop over a period of years and are staged to allow orderly funding expenditure and provide expanding facilities in a timely way to meet the demand for them as it is predicted to arise.
Initial planning, whether it be for a university, school or indeed a home that is anticipated to expand over time to meet a growing family’s needs is required at the outset of the project to ensure that future development is considered, planned and not reactionary. The risk in not adopting a master plan approach is that ad hoc decisions are made over time without a long-term plan or vision for future development and use consequently restricted. This can result in a built environment lacking cohesion. Working to a master plan also assists in avoiding costly mistakes for the client where previous work may need to be “undone”.
So, what does Master Planning entail? In short, it involves the consideration of the two components to any project; investigation of the client’s site, what it will support and the brief or vision outlining the facilities required to be provided. Mark Jones has discussed this approach previously and you can read more on his blog, Respecting the Site & Co-design. A detailed master plan document is then prepared addressing all aspects of site development including town planning, architectural, landscape, civil, services infrastructure, energy/ESD and legislative requirements.
Consideration of the site may involve specific investigation of topography, natural features, existing facilities, utilities, council and legislative requirements, traffic, landscaping, stormwater and access. Where required, specialist consultant input is prepared for coordination with other site opportunities and inclusion in the master plan.
The client’s brief may include issues such as current and projected accommodation requirements arising from growth, their culture, energy policy and budget. Importantly, their “vision” should be articulated outlining what kind of place they would like to create and, at its heart, goes to how people will use and experience the planned environment.
Edmiston Jones has been involved with Master Planning for significant development for the University of Wollongong and many local schools, and the Master Planning approach of looking at the “big picture”, catering for a client’s future needs and opportunity for future development is one that we extend to all our projects.
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