It has been likened to the closest a professional could come to playing god in the urban context: planning and designing the places we live in.
Social behaviour, economic success or failure, vacancy rates and even the cultural quality of a city or place starts, and can be already determined in the initial design and planning provided by the planners and designers responsible for the creation of places and spaces.
Just a small task, but one that Place Design Group Managing Director, Shaun Munday believes has been achieved across the course of the planning and design consultancy’s last 15 years, due to one key element.
“It’s about creating places for people. The kind born from long term, data driven planning insights and a collaborative design culture – an almost forensic approach with people at the heart of it, which allows us to better shape our places for greater opportunities in the future”.
Yet only now, there seems to be a recent shift toward this approach, and the ‘places for people’ idea is ranking much higher on political and policy agendas.
“For so long, places have been planned and designed primarily around the motor car, and now, people are starting to realise that the time and need has come to change this. Attitudes and aspirations are shifting, and Australia now has a newly created political post – a Minister for Cities.
“Australia is expected to have almost 38 million residents by 2050 – a staggering figure – and we as planners and designers need to understand that now, more than ever, is the time to be planning better for the future – and putting people at the centre of it all is the key,” Shaun says.
Place Design Group has come to understand the context all too well, celebrating their 15 year anniversary in 2016, with a tally of more than 6500 people focused projects, spread across 8 countries – a huge undertaking for the bespoke team of just 180 designers and planners.
“It is simply impossible to accurately quantify, as is the economic and social impact on the lives of so many people in Australia and internationally via our work. This is what we see our work as being; it is something we are really proud of, and we have our incredible team to thank for that” Shaun says.
As a member of the Lord Mayor’s Economic Steering Committee for the development of Brisbane’s 2022 New World City Plan, Shaun Munday built a solid reputation for the ‘places for people’ concept, long before it is now becoming a ‘thing’.
Yet, with 2016 well underway, and an ever increasing ‘future places for people’ focus impacting design and planning sectors, Placed Design Group has found themselves even more fortunate in their 15th year, confidently armed with more than a decade of strategic insights and research that will only continue to build for years to come.
“The Australia we know now, will be very different to the Australia of our future and we are pleased that government and the property sector are realising the importance of this new way forward.
We have a number of major, public and private sector projects already in the making this year, and we continue to play key advisory roles in the formation of these new, future focused policies. This is helping to shape innovative and sustainable places that serve real purpose in the lives of those people that live within them – not just now, but for well into the future”.
“For as long as we are around, we will continue to advocate the planning and design of great places for people. That will never change,” Shaun said.