Friday, November 14, 2014

Call-In on what makes a good city November 12

How often do you think about where you live or where you are from and what makes it a great place and what could make it better?

Well urban planning is no easy task and involves many elements that are complex and fluid.

Marc Stringa joined us to help unpack what it is that makes a good city a great city and how we the residents can be part of that conversation.

Here is our conversation.

Here is what we used to start the conversation.

Marc Stringa

I thought it would be interesting to talk about re-imagining cities from the perspective that we tend to be retrofitting them.

What do we want and what do we need from our cities today?

Maybe a chat about where some of the thinking is going wrong and where it is going right.

The son of Italian migrants, Marc has been fortunate to share and understand the values which have come with this context, particularly related to shared cultures.


Marc has 5 degrees all within the realms of Architecture and Planning. The breadth of these studies reflects a genuine desire to engage more fully with his profession and make ever more informed decisions.


Commencing practice in the early nineties, Marc has worked within local and state government and has worked within the consultancy environment for the last decade. Projects have been wide ranging from architectural design work to regional strategies. Marc's key strenghts lie in larger integrated multi disciplinary projects and positioning (designing and delivering) planning strategies underpinning these projects.

Recent Activities

Marc prior to establing stringa pty ltd, was the principal for a multi national company in the Middle East, leading a competent, professional and generally well mannered group of people from 17 different nationalities. The focus of this activity was largely within the context of integrated urban development projects.


Marc is the planning principal for Stringa Pty Ltd and is working collaboratively on a number of projects globally.

Urban Planning Basics
The goal of planning is to guide the development of a city or town so that it furthers the welfare of its current and future residents by creating convenient, equitable, healthful, efficient and attractive environments. Most urban planners work in existing communities, but some help develop communities -- known as new towns, new cities or planned communities -- from scratch. Either way, urban planners must consider three key aspects of a city as they map out their programs:
The physical environment: A city's physical environment includes its location, its climate and its proximity to sources of food and water. Because drinking water is so crucial, many cities are founded at the head of a river or at the fall line, the point where rivers descend from the regions of older, harder rocks toward the softer sediments of the coastal plain. The rapids that often form at the fall line mark ideal locations for towns and villages to evolve. Coastal cities also have a great advantage in that their accessibility positions them to become important trading centers.
Planners must often consider an area's geologic history to understand the full character of a city. For example, the physical environment of New York City and the surrounding region reflects the culmination of a billion years of geologic activity. Over this great span of time, mountain ranges formed and were worn away. Seaways came and went. Most recently, episodes of continental glaciation covered the area with ice sheets that eventually retreated. All of this activity makes New York City what it is today and affects how it might change in the future.
The social environment: The social environment includes the groups to which a city's residents belong, the neighborhoods in which they live, the organization of its workplaces, and the policies created to impose order. One of the biggest issues in most cities is the inequitable distribution of resources. For example, more than 50 percent of the population of Mumbai and New Delhi (cities in India) live in slums, while in Lagos and Nairobi (cities in Africa), more than 60 percent of households aren't connected to water [source:United Nations Human Settlements Programme]. As a result, the social environment can be a risk factor for disease and mortality as much as individual risk factors.
Planners work with local authorities to make sure residents are not excluded from the benefits of urbanization as a result of physical, social or economic barriers.
The economic environment: All cities work hard to support the retention and expansion of existing local businesses. Primary employers, such as manufacturing as well as research and development companies, retail businesses, universities, federal labs, local government, cultural institutions, and departments of tourism all play strong roles in a city's economy. The programs of an urban planner should encourage partnerships among public agencies, private companies and nonprofit organizations; foster innovation and competitiveness; provide development opportunities and resources to small businesses; and nurture, preserve and promote local arts and creative industries in order to sustain a city's cultural vitality.
As you can imagine, urban planners must do a great deal of research and analysis to fully understand how the physical, social and economic aspects of a city interact. Before they ever put pen to paper, they study:
  • The current use of land for residential, business and community purposes
  • The locations and capacity of streets, highways, airports, water and sewer
  • The types of industries embedded in the community
  • The characteristics of the population
  • Employment and economic trends
They also gather input from residents, government officials, politicians, business executives and special groups. Armed with all of this information, planners develop short- and long-term strategic alternatives for solving problems in a coordinated and comprehensive manner. They also show how these programs can be carried out and how much they will cost.
All of these details are captured in a formal document known as a comprehensive plan or a master plan. In the next section, we'll take a look at a typical plan.

Planning Institute Australia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Planning Institute (PIA) was founded in 1951 and is the only national organisation representing qualified urban and regional planners and other related disciplines in Australia. Originally known as the Regional and Town Planning Institute, it later became the Royal Australian Planning Institute, until 2002 when the current name was adopted.[1]
PIA represents approximately 5000 members nationally and internationally. It is governed by a National Board of Directors and managed by a professional administration. It is a member-based organisation with its management complemented by volunteers, who support and contribute to its activities on various levels.
PIA's vision is Leading effective planning for people and places
We will realise our vision by:
  • Advocating for Better Planning: Our advocacy and policy development targets the outcomes and processes needed to better plan for the future, and the challenges we face.
  • Developing High Quality Planners: We build the capacity and capability of the planning profession to deliver better planning for communities.
  • Supporting the Profession: We support and nurture planners throughout their career to create a strong, connected planning community.
PIA runs a number of events at both the National and State/Territory levels, including an annual National Congress, an Annual State Conference in most States/Territories, professional development seminars, and a number of social occasions. PIA also presents State and National Awards for Planning Excellence to recognise and publicise outstanding achievements in planning and design, and has a code of professional conduct to which all members are required to adhere.
PIA is closely aligned with a global network of other planning professional bodies throughout the world including the American Planning Association (APA) and Royal Town Planning Institute.
PIA also publishes Australian Planner (RAPL 0729-3682), Australia's leading peer-reviewed journal for the planning profession, and the most read and influential planning journal in Australia and the Pacific Region.[citation needed] It is published quarterly, distributed in March, June, September and December each year.[2]
An urban planner or city planner is a professional who works in the field of urban planning/land use planning for the purpose of optimizing the effectiveness of a community's land use and infrastructure. They formulate plans for the development and management of urban and suburban areas, typically analyzing land use compatibility as well as economic, environmental and social trends. In developing their plan for a community (whether commercial, residential, agricultural, natural or recreational), urban planners must also consider a wide array of issues such as sustainability, air pollution, traffic congestion, crime, land values, legislation and zoning codes.
The importance of the urban planner is increasing throughout the 21st century, as modern society begins to face issues of increased population growth, climate change and unsustainable development. An urban planner could be considered a green collar profession.
Urban planners are usually hired by developers, private property owners, private planning firms and local/regional governments to assist in the large-scale planning of communal and commercial developments, as well as public facilities and transportation systems. Urban planners in the public role often assist the public and serve as technical advisors in the complex web of the community's political environment. Related disciplines include community, cultural, environmental, historic preservation, housing, regional and transportation planning.

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