Self-Confessed ‘Non-Planner’ Changing the Face of Australian Planning and Design

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  • Self-Confessed ‘Non-Planner’ Changing the Face of Australian Planning and Design

With the rapid change in technology, and the immediacy of information, we are now seeing an even greater need for transparency in the planning and development of our cities and towns.  Combine this with industry technicalities, acronyms, and political red tape, and it is easy to see how communities are so often disconnected from the development industry.  Such communication barriers have plagued the Australian planning and design industry for years and it is this disconnect Place Design Group’s General Manager, Beth Toon is looking to change.

A non-planner, non-designer, Beth has taken an outsider approach to bridge this gap.

“My unlikely – some would say totally unrelated – background in strategic communications, combined with the expertise of an innovative and technical team, led me to a surprising development of an effective, new approach in how industry better communicates with our communities”, Beth said.

And the results are speaking volumes, having recently been honoured with the UDIA Queensland’s Women in Leadership award for her industry excellence in leadership and innovative strategic communications.

Now, Beth is staring down the barrel of the National awards in March nominated as a finalist for the UDIA National Women in Leadership Award.

“Combined insights via a cross disciplinary communications approach is the key to really demystify some the language and processes that communities typically struggle to understand and rarely connect with,” Beth said.

The 37 year-old mother of two is bucking trends and challenging the status quo on the professional front too, appointed the first female Director of Place Design Group, member of the Youth Advocacy Centre Board, and Australia China Business Council Property Committee –to name a few.

And, if you were to ask Beth what her end game is, she would tell you it is simple.

“Diversity. What may not have traditionally worked, may be the key to success. This runs across all areas – and for communications, looking outside the box has been a great advantage.

Not coming from a technical background of planning or design means I don’t look at things in the same light, so the combined insights of a diverse, connected team means this communications gap can be bridged.”

The UDIA National Women in Leadership Awards recognises outstanding women from the property development industry, celebrating diversity throughout industry organisations.

The winner of the UDIA National Women in Leadership Award will be announced at the UDIA National Congress on March 22, 2018.