the evolution of DLA
Foreword This is the story of an Australian urban design and town planning consultancy, headquartered in
Those of us who visited Australia treasured our down-time there, sometimes hiring whizzy cars (at
Melbourne, that has grown to the point that, at the age of 21, it is now rebranding as Kinetica.
our personal expense!) to get out into the wider country at weekends. Maybe to the wineries if
The name confirms its energetic focus on reducing the urban footprint of towns and cities in land
in Adelaide, and once on my own along the Great Ocean Road where a wallaby jumped in front
use, built form and transport terms, all in the context of the social, environmental and economic
of me not far from Apollo Bay and broke the car. Waiting 7 hours for the recovery truck, I was
consequences of global climate change.
given friendly hospitality by a kind woman in her ranch-style home (the only one for miles), who
The roots of this company were threefold. First, Oxford Brookes University (formerly Oxford Polytechnic) in the UK. Australian cities wished to grow an urban design capability, and the Oxford Brookes course was pe-eminent. On returning to Australia, the newly qualified staff members were given budgets to deliver high quality urban renewal and strategic subdivision projects, but there was not yet a pool of national talent on which to draw. Thus the charismatic Paul Murrain
of course let me use her phone, and gave me a beer, and offered me supper. (I declined the grey pastry that her grandchild had made, as she had expected with a smile.) All confirming to me, again, the open heart of the Australian people, their highly developed sense of ironic humour which makes us Brits feel so much at home, and the sense that this great continent and confident nation is a book still waiting to be written.
in particular, and followers like me, began to be invited to bring our international experience to
Eventually, as may be expected, it proved difficult to sustain visits by UK staff to work on projects,
such projects. A network of professional acquaintances, friendships and technical collaborations
and staff exchanges or placements. Some UK staff found—predictably—that Australia is young
began to grow, and a portfolio built of really good work.
and exciting, and did not want to come back to the UK! More pragmatically, the Australian
The second root was the New Town Movement. I had become enthused by the strategic planning processes that cause a major New Town project to be embarked upon, and then its practical realisation. It is how I came later with my family to work in Milton Keynes. Through that network I became acquainted with Malcolm Latham, the Special Projects Director of Lend Lease in Sydney—
consultancy market, for various reasons, could not afford to pay the time charges needed to cover costs back in the UK. Travel and subsidence costs were an additional burden. Subsidising visits for project work was not a sustainable path. Staff exchanges dwindled to one-way visits for mutual professional development, and friendship.
he had been a Commissioner in the National Capital Development Commission for Canberra
Monthly Board meetings, initially conference calls, were made better by Skype, despite the time
in the 1980s. I looked forward to calling on him in Sydney. His perspective was panoptic and
zone difference. Will Cousins, Jim Urwin and Lawrence Revill have providedW continuity as the
always stimulating, focused on being ahead of the curve and more clever than any competitor.
UK members of the Board. I stood aside as Chair after 18 years: Mark and his colleagues quite
Later, through my colleague Will Cousins, we were able to secure some Australian consultancy
properly had chosen locally accessible Australian businessman Michael McDonald to take the
seat, accelerating the process culminating in the independence now achieved.
The third was chance. Mark Sheppard recalls in this book his time with us in the UK, and his
Mark Sheppard’s team is talented, hardworking, and fun. I am confident we shall see Kinetica
decision with Lana to settle in Melbourne. Mark is an outstanding urban designer, and I suggested
grow its reputation as an innovative, creative, independent consultancy in urban design and
that instead of applying for a job in Melbourne where he had no previous connections, he might
planning, for the benefit of Australia and the region. The work will always be “in progress”, of
start this Australian company to take on our client relationships and to help build Australia’s own
course, but the trajectory is looking great! It has been a privilege to be a sort of co-parent!
professional capability in this sector. I had learned in my own career that planning consultancy worked much better if it had urban and graphic design in support. But also that urban design
David Lock CBE MRTPI
works better if enriched by the technical, presentational and operating skills of planners. Our
Founder Chair, David Lock Associates (Australia) Pty Ltd Founder Chair and now Strategic Planning Adviser, David Lock Associates Ltd, UK
joint vision was to follow that formula, but in the Australian way.
Table of contents With bravado and naivety 1 1998-2001: Overlooking a small Japanese garden
Without fear or favour 9 2002-2005: An Englishman abroad 10 From Melbourne with love 16 2006-2011: Sandcastles 17 Interesting work 25 2012-2016: A Bali retreat 26 A fulfilling workplace 33 2017-2020: Leaving home 34 Reinvention 39 kinetica founding members 40
kinetica acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Victoria, the indigenous people of the Kulin Nations. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging. We walk side by side in a journey towards Reconciliation.
With bravado and naivety By mid-1997 I had been living in London for seven years. My fiancée was in Australia nursing her
Jenny, David and I were all equally inexperienced in business, but committed to producing high
ailing father and I was nearly 30. It was time to ‘settle down’.
quality work. Over time, we built the business and diversified its expertise and work. We worked
I had always felt that returning to New Zealand, where I’d grown up, would be like going backwards. But I wanted my future kids to enjoy Downunder’s relaxed, outdoor lifestyle. So, Australia it was. David Lock was a step ahead of me of course. No sooner had I announced my departure from his company, where I’d enjoyed four highly fulfilling and educational years, and he pulled me aside and said “Why don’t we open an office down there?” Filled with the bravado and naivety of youth, I readily agreed, and we made a plan. I had no idea about running a business, let alone starting one, but David must have seen potential in my enquiring and persistent character—and, perhaps, the allure of warmer weather during the English winter. So, armed with a business plan full of wishful numbers and propositions, I jetted off to Melbourne in late October 1997. David and two other directors of David Lock Associates UK—Paul Murrain and Will Cousins— had already undertaken work in Australia on a fly-in fly-out basis, while Jim Urwin had worked in Sydney for a year. It was hoped that this would give the new company a head start, and that establishing a beachhead in Australia would create a more regular flow of project opportunities
all over Australia, and sometimes beyond, as opportunities arose. The driving force behind our business choices was a desire to “do interesting work”, combined with a strong ethic around what we perceived to be good development—that which creates great places. Like most people who set up a consulting practice, I was good at my core technical skill but had little knowledge (or even interest!) in business. This hampered our success for a while. Eventually we got help with the business side of things, and flourished into a sustainable organisation that not only delivers high quality work but also provides a rewarding place to work. Over a couple of decades, the bonds with DLA UK dissipated as fewer and fewer people in each company had any connection with the other. However, we maintain a close friendship through regular visits and information sharing. The life of David Lock Associates (Australia) has mirrored a major phase of my personal life, as I’ve made a home and brought up a family. Just as my children are nearing the age when they will strike out and make their own lives, the time is right for DLA Australia to close this chapter of its life, and re-emerge in a new form.
for experts from DLA’s UK office. This proved to be the case, with David, Will, Jim and others
This book is about our journey from a twinkle in David Lock’s eye, to a leading firm of planning
from the UK providing invaluable expertise and support on a number of projects over the next
and urban design experts.
few years—notably in Alkimos Eglinton in northern Perth, the Port Adelaide waterfront and the Werribee Employment Precinct.
Mark Sheppard MPIA
The UK connection, and the knowledge I had gained from studying and working in the UK—
Founder Managing Director, David Lock Associates (Australia) Pty Ltd Founder Managing Principal, Kinetica
which was at the forefront of urban design internationally—became the fledgling operation’s key selling proposition. It was bolstered by the addition of two young planner/ urban designers, Jenny Donovan and David Klingberg, both of whom had UK experience and, like me, were graduates of Oxford Brookes University’s renowned postgraduate urban design program.
1998-2001: Overlooking a small Japanese garden A small Japanese garden at the bottom of a three-storey lightwell provided the only outlook from our small serviced office at the beginning of 1998. Over our four years at 244 Moray Street, South Melbourne, we would progressively grow into a larger room on the next floor up, then another and another. Jenny Donovan arrived in mid-1998 and David Klingberg in mid-1999. Our first project was the Footscray Central Urban Design Framework for Maribyrnong City Council in Melbourne. Council’s project representative, Vincent Ryan, told us later that he awarded it to us because he knew we’d work hard to establish ourselves. He was right! Mark had met economist Roger Gibbons in Hobart on a fact-finding tour of the country after arriving in late 1997, so he invited Spiller Gibbons Swan (later to become SGS Economics and Planning) to join us, along with Roger’s recommendation for traffic and transport advice, Jim Higgs of TTM Consulting. This was the beginning of a long and enjoyable association with both firms.
Darebin North East Corridor Strategic Plan
Footscray Central Urban Design Framework
The Footscray Central Urban Design Framework was our first project. Footscray is an inner suburb of Melbourne undergoing renewal in response to the decline of industry and the rise of inner city living, combined with growing awareness of its riverside location and accessibility to Melbourne’s CBD. We were engaged to prepare a plan to guide its evolution. We emphasised the mixed-use and pedestrian-friendly nature of successful urban centres, while also celebrating the key attributes of the area. Since the completion of our Framework, Footscray’s heightened profile has brought new investment into the area in the form of a number of landmark development proposals.
In 1999, we also undertook our first project for Jim Ramsey, prolific developer in the Geelong region. The site was a former shipyard known as Rippleside, and the commission was to prepare a conceptual master plan to underpin its rezoning for residential development. Supported by visualisation work by Chris Goss, who was soon after to establish Orbit Solutions, the planning controls for the site were duly changed. It is now the home of attractive new, medium-density waterside homes under the moniker of Balmoral Quay. A national planning award for the Rippleside Urban Design Guidelines and a commendation for the Footscray project emboldened us, and we stretched our legs with more urban design frameworks, character studies, residential and technology park master plans, urban renewal strategies and built form policies. Our work took us to Ballarat, Mildura, Adelaide and Sydney. Board meetings were unconventional in those early years, with three of the four directors on the other side of the world. But this didn’t prevent David Lock, Will Cousins and Jim Urwin from providing experienced business advice, a critical sounding board and friendly encouragement. This period ended with Mark’s first commission to give expert urban design evidence at VCAT, Victoria’s planning tribunal. Peter Tesdorpf, who’d taken a risk in engaging a relatively unknown urban designer, was a little taken aback when Mark had to ask him where the hearing was to be held. However, it proved to be the beginning of a long-running career as an expert witness. 3
1999 Melbourne Built Form Controls Review
Rippleside Village Urban Design Framework and Guidelines
The site for Rippleside Village was a former shipyard at the base of a headland in North Geelong. We had to convince the neighbours on the top of the hill behind that it wouldn’t block their views of Corio Bay. We also wanted to ensure public access along the water’s edge. It’s now emerging as an attractive medium-density development called Balmoral Quay.
Mawson Lakes Technology Park Master Plan Bruce Harper of South Australia’s Land Management Corporation had met Will Cousins, one of our UK-based directors, when they participated in a workshop for the Mawson Lakes development in Adelaide. A technology park had been built along the lines of a 1980s office park, with big buildings separated by car parking and landscaping. We were commissioned to prepare a new master plan for the technology park, and identified how it could be developed to foster innovation through a more sociable public realm and greater diversity.
2001 “The logistics of the distance in time and space between the UK and Australia deserve a Berwick Views Estate Master Plan Port Adelaide Renewal Strategy Campsie Town Centre Development Control Plan
Greg Dowling of Scott Carver invited us to collaborate with him in preparing a Development Control Plan for Campsie Town Centre in Sydney. We wanted to facilitate mixed-use development, while maintaining the centre’s distinct character precincts and contributing to a better public realm. Our aim was to do this without prescribing design solutions, to leave scope for design creativity.
mention. Our joint project work was variously in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. The late flight out of Heathrow on a Friday night and return to Heathrow by the following Saturday morning let us cheat the clock by getting nearly seven full working days in Australia, but the body clock took time to adjust on return, and there are only so many hours in one’s life that should be spent walking up and down Changi Airport in Singapore, looking at things for sale that you don’t need, in a currency you haven’t got! Every minute in these working visits counted: I recall a helicopter flight in Perth (a developer wanted to show me his smart new subdivision—I had been with the Western Australian Planning Commission for a few days) when time was so tight the pilot was on the radio placing my menu choices even as we touched down in the park at Adelaide Terrace. My last full week’s work for Mark also involved four scheduled presentations during the first Monday, and an unscheduled “talk” in the evening. Having arrived Sunday and been treated to an Aussie Rules footie match, I was tiring by the Monday afternoon, but the unscheduled “talk” turned out to be on regional strategic planning at a dinner in the Library in Melbourne that evening, for the Victoria Government Minister and senior civil servants!”
David Lock “I remember my time at DLA as being busy, in a drawing with both hands sort of a way. Not that the clients were banging at the door, but because the culture allowed us to do each job to the best possible standard, irrespective of the budget. Satisfying but not sustainable.”
“I remember when we were working on the Port Adelaide job, not content to use the very convenient public transport that Adelaide offered, David Lock, Simon Pugh and I decided that we needed to hire an MG and a Porsche Boxster. I can still picture the expression of the developer client when we turned up at his house for dinner. We had some fun and we raced each other around the vineyards in the Adelaide Hills.”
Without fear or favour We’re strong-willed. It’s part of our DNA. We form our own position and then stick to it. We’re not interested in the easy answer, or popular opinion, but what we believe is right.
2002-2005: An Englishman abroad When John Lochhead, our landlord at Moray Street, told us he was going to build a new office
This loses us projects from time to time. But it’s too embedded in who we are to be negotiable.
and invited us to share it with his architecture firm, we jumped at the opportunity. 102 Tope Street
We’re driven by making better places, not money.
was only around the corner, and offered us the space we needed for our growing team with our
As it’s turned out, being independent and steadfast in our opinions is an asset to our clients. It means our views are valued by decision-makers, and clients can rely on them remaining constant
In 2003 we hired our first in-house graphic designer, Jonathan Wright. Jonno came from DLA
(unless, of course, the facts change). And having a position that we believe in allows us to mount
UK, with a surfboard under his arm. He brought with him a tried and true urban graphics system,
a compelling case for it when needed.
demonstrating the value of our relationship with the UK business. Jonno was the first of a
Being unwavering in our opinion doesn’t stop us looking for solutions when we identify a problem. On the contrary, we pride ourselves on our talent for lateral thinking to resolve issues.
number of placements from one DLA office to the other, maintaining the bond between the two companies.
This commonly involves working collaboratively with the client, other consultants and/or the
During this period, we tested our skills on a broader range of increasingly substantial projects.
community to solve complex challenges.
Our Urban Design Framework for the High Street corridor in Darebin (Melbourne) won state and
We’re not backward in expressing our views in public either. We seek publication and speaking opportunities in order to lead debate in the industry and broader community. We pride ourselves on our use of clear, concise and compelling language to get our views across, whether it is delivered in written or oral form. We favour plain English over opaque jargon. We’ve always found good graphics to be a critical component of a compelling case. The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is particularly pertinent to planning and development. Distilling a strategic idea to a clear diagram looks deceptively simple, but is a refined skill that we work on constantly. This is well illustrated by a brochure we prepared way back in 2012 to promote investment in the western Melbourne municipality of Brimbank, which is still used today. These values—candid, consistent, constructive, collaborative and compelling—underpin everything we do.
own street address.
national planning awards, and sparked renewal which continues to this day. We collaborated with Scott Carver in Sydney to develop a Master Plan for the Macquarie Park Corridor, aimed at guiding its transformation in response to a new rail line. This initiated a change in character from a car-based office park towards a pedestrian-friendly district of diverse businesses. But our biggest project during this time was an Urban Growth Plan for Armstrong Creek, south of Geelong. With a study area of 4,300 hectares, it allowed us to apply ideas drawn from our UK experience about sustainable urban extensions on a broad scale, integrating transport, economic, social and environmental considerations. Armstrong Creek is now the home of a growing community organised around walkable neighbourhoods, with the potential for relative self-containment. This phase of the company culminated in Jenny and David being appointed directors, recognising their tireless efforts and significant contributions to the growth and development of the company.
2002 Technology Precinct (WA) Master Plan
Tower Hill, Swan Hill, Master Plan
The Victorian Government’s Urban and Regional Land Corporation had taken on a 150- hectare urban extension of the regional town of Swan Hill, and engaged us to prepare a master plan. The site was a hill topped by a water tower, which we capitalised upon as a placemaking feature. We also embedded a town square amid a small mixed-use, medium-density node at the main entrance to the neighbourhood, to create a kind of community hub. The street designs incorporated water sensitive urban design features, and we wrote design guidelines to establish coherent streetscapes. Our master plan supported the original planning scheme amendment, and our role extended for many years as each stage was developed.
Latrobe Transit Precincts Urban Renewal Frameworks & Master Plans Macquarie Park Corridor Master Plan The Macquarie Park Corridor in Sydney is one of Australia’s ten largest office precincts. However, unlike the other precincts which are all traditional CBDs, it is in the form of a low-density, monofunctional, car-based business park environment. The development of three new stations as part of the Epping-Chatswood Rail Line provided an opportunity to transform the area into a more vibrant and sustainable environment. We were engaged as part of a multi-disciplinary team to prepare a masterplan to guide future development in the Corridor. Our solution was to introduce an array of new streets along with improvements to the amenity of existing streets to create a more walkable environment. Our masterplan led to a Development Control Plan which is now governing new development and infrastructure works.
WELL Precinct Master Plan
Canberra Central Built Form Controls
Bayside Housing Strategy
Armstrong Creek Urban Growth Plan
Bayside is a middle-ring municipality of Melbourne. We were commissioned by its council to prepare a strategy to enable it to meet the changing housing needs of its community while retaining its highly valued amenity, character and environmental qualities. We saw the need to minimise the intrusion of additional housing as an opportunity to direct new housing to locations where walking, cycling and public transport are viable options, to promote more sustainable behaviour and affordability.
Armstrong Creek, on the southern edge of Geelong, has long been identified as the location for the majority of the city’s growth in the foreseeable future. We were engaged to prepare a structure plan for this 4,300-hectare growth area. We saw this as an opportunity to apply best practice in sustainable urban development, which we implemented through features such as two new railway stations, dedicated corridors for local public transport, walkable neighbourhoods with minimum densities in order to ensure the viability of local facilities, a jobs-homes balance, wildlife corridors and conservation areas, and water sensitive urban design. The plan was introduced into the Planning Scheme and has facilitated a number of new communities.
From Melbourne with love
“Tuesday 21 January 2003—a rare visit for me to Melbourne. The office buzzed. Lots of work was being got through. Everyone was happy, friendly
When Mark Sheppard and David Lock were considering where to establish the business, they quickly narrowed it
and pleased to see me. Then it all fell into place.
down to Sydney and Melbourne as Australia’s two biggest cities. From there, it was line-ball. We ended up going for
Lunchtime arrived and I was informed, through big
Melbourne because it was thought to have a stronger urban design culture at that time and was a cheaper place to
smiles, that the office was being closed for the rest of the day—that tickets were booked and that we were all going off to Australia v Sri Lanka at ‘the G’. I was told that it was to mark my visit (really?). Anyway, a good time was had by all and it was a great way to get to meet the all the new staff who had come on board since I had last been over. Back at the ‘mother ship’ in Milton Keynes, days out, awaydays and social events have always been a big part of our calendar, and go a long way to
“As a recent graduate from architecture, the time I had at DLA was an eye-opening experience to urban design and planning as to how important it is to shape the urban environment before designing architecture. During my tenure in 2003-2005, Mark, Jenny and David created a work environment that was inspirational and motivating as well as fun-filled and most importantly, they valued good people. I am honored and grateful to have been a part of DLA.”
explaining the family atmosphere that has surrounded
set up. As a consequence, the vast majority of our projects have been in Victoria. However, our work has taken us all over Australia and occasionally overseas. Our first interstate jobs came in 2000, when we were invited to prepare a master plan for the Mawson Lakes Technology Park in Adelaide, and to provide urban design advice as part of an IT & Knowledge-Based Industry Clusters Action Plan for Brisbane City Council. We were back in Adelaide the following year to work on a regeneration strategy for Port Adelaide as part of a developer bid, with a special appearance from David. In 2001, we were invited by Scott Carver to collaborate with them on a Development Control Plan for the Campsie Town Centre. This was the first of many significant strategic planning and urban design projects across the city,
the company from its early days. It was good to
“One of DLA’s most iconic legends relates to a design
experience that same feeling in Melbourne back in
competition for a visitor centre, for Gunns Forestry. Our
2003 (and subsequently).”
fantastic team of creative consultants came up with some
2002 saw us in Perth preparing a master plan for Technology Precinct. Later, we worked on a series of structure plans
amazing concepts, and we were duly shortlisted. It was at
and master plans in the Alkimos Eglinton growth corridor, continuing a relationship established by David many years
this point that, in a fit of conscience, we wrote to the CEO
before. In 2005, we were invited to prepare master plans for a pair of Canberra’s growth areas, and later that year
of Gunns and, while thanking him for considering our ideas,
contributed to a review of built form controls for Canberra Central. It was 2011 before we first worked in Tasmania, on
announced that we would only proceed to Stage 2 of the
an Outline Development Plan for Hadspen, closely followed by the Launceston Central Area Development Strategy.
Jim Urwin “One key learning from Jen on the 8 Small Towns road trip was her authentic approach to understanding a community ... and this started and ended at the local pub. We played pool, she bought beers, we chatted to locals, she started buying spirits. My eyes started glazing over yet she was as fresh as Irish clover.”
Nicola Williams “What I particularly cherish were the ‘urban races’ – requiring a quick idea on pen and paper. Limited time
ranging from town centre renewal strategies to employment precinct frameworks and growth area plans.
competition if they stopped logging old-growth forests. Unsurprisingly, that was the end of our involvement in the
We have also kept our eyes out for ‘interesting’ international projects, leading to stimulating work in Sri Lanka,
contest. However, we like to think it had something to do
Vietnam, the Philippines, Samoa and New Zealand.
with Gunn’s decision to stop chopping down native trees in 2010.”
But work outside Victoria and NSW has always been opportunistic and sporadic as we’ve not marketed ourselves beyond the two southeastern states. In contrast, we identified Sydney early on as somewhere we could service effectively from Melbourne (at least from an urban design perspective).
and a brief was given in each location. We had to create a concept drawing, legend and a presentation
We have set up office in Sydney on two separate occasions, when required by our projects and clients. However,
to convince everyone that our idea ‘holds water’.”
we have found that our ability to effectively employ the most relevant expertise for each project is compromised
by a dispersed team. While we continue to work in many parts of Australia, we have concentrated our team in our Melbourne studio, where the opportunity to collaborate face-to-face best fosters innovation and nurtures our ideas.
2006-2011: Sandcastles By 2006, we’d outgrown Tope Street and needed new digs. Our South Melbourne location suited us, so we found a light and airy open-plan floor in an office building at 166 Albert Road, overlooking Albert Park Lake. This was to be our home for 13 years. And Albert Park would be
2006 Cranbourne West Precinct Structure Plan Preston Central Structure Plan
the site for many a picnic and cricket match (and the source of brain-numbing and conversation-
Laurimar Town Centre Development Plan
killing noise once a year, courtesy of the Grand Prix).
Laurimar is a new suburb in Melbourne’s north. We were engaged to prepare a Development Plan and Design Guidelines for its town centre. We wanted to create a distinctive place, unlike most new centres. So we capitalised on the school and supermarket to energise the core of the centre, and shaped its streets and spaces to create a memorable experience. The centre is now a thriving heart for the community.
We established a standalone town planning service in 2007, led by Madeline Di Pietrantonio. This broadened our offer, leading to projects such as the Shepparton Housing Strategy. We reached ten years old in 2008, and celebrated by taking the whole team (and some special visitors from the UK) to a retreat in Bicheno, Tasmania, highlighted by a superhero dress-up evening and an epic sandcastle competition. One day, when our Business Manager Teresa Qualtrough had been with us long enough to observe how we ran the company, she pointed out that we really didn’t have any idea what we were doing and ought to get some help. After swallowing our pride, we agreed that she was right. We brought in a business coach, who studied our somewhat home-spun management methods, and identified a number of problems with them. One of his key recommendations was to focus management in a CEO role with the responsibility and authority to lead the business forward. Following a very short discussion, we concluded that David Klingberg was most suited to undertaking this role, and he was duly appointed our first CEO. Our portfolio continued to fill out through this period, featuring structure plans for existing town centres, master plans for new town centres, growth area plans and employment precinct strategies. Our work for the private sector grew until, in 2010, it surpassed public sector work as our main source of revenue. Jenny Donovan played a critical role through this period, using her ability to read the social and natural landscape to develop compelling and tailored design concepts for multiple projects. However, as the business grew, she found the challenges of managing a larger team detracted from her enjoyment of the work. Ultimately, this led to her leaving to form Inclusive Design. However, she remains a close friend of the business. 17
Hume Country Estate Master Plan
Broadmeadows Potential Development Study
Shepparton Housing Strategy
Estate One Master Plan
Shepparton is a rapidly growing town. We were engaged to prepare a strategy to guide and manage its new housing. Rather than just identifying appropriate locations for growth, we wanted to ensure that it contributed to complete neighbourhoods that offer high quality living environments.
Heidelberg Structure Plan Heidelberg is a suburban town centre in Melbourne dominated by a major medical precinct. Banyule City Council engaged us to prepare a structure plan for it. We identified how the centre could grow in a way that is sensitive to its topographical setting and creates a more appealing public realm. Our plan won a Planning Institute Urban Design Award, as “the centrepiece of an ambitious project that integrated and sustained an urban design perspective, responding to local conditions and providing a framework for reconciling and unifying sometimes disparate elements of the activity centre”.
2010 Caulfield Village Urban Design Advice & Evidence
Werribee Employment Precinct Master Plan
Eglinton District Centre Structure Plan
The 925 hectare site for the Werribee Employment Precinct was the largest piece of undeveloped Government land in metropolitan Melbourne. We were appointed by VicUrban and the Department of Planning and Community Development to prepare a strategic conceptual masterplan for its development as a mixed use precinct with a focus on providing jobs. Our plan painted a broad-brush picture of how the precinct could develop: what kinds of jobs might be created, the key infrastructure projects required to make it happen, how it might relate to the rest of Werribee and the broader region, and where development might begin.
We first gave advice on the Alkimos Eglinton growth corridor in northern Perth in 1998 after Howard Mitchell (Mitch) of EPCAD introduced us to the project manager, Tasio Cokis. Our work moved from big-picture spatial planning to structure plans for new centres, including a structure plan to guide the development of the Eglinton District Centre. We wanted to embed the benefits of a street-based, mixed-use centre and capitalise on its train station. So we set out a permeable street network punctuated by civic spaces, defining development parcels with scope for a range of uses.
Lockerbie Preliminary Structure Plan
TO M ROAD
TO BOARDWALK TOWN CENTR E
HOPPERS CROSSING STATION
TO SANCTUARY LAKES
I N N O VA
WYNDHAM CIVIC CENTRE
WERRIBEE TOWN CENTRE
S RO AD
TO WERR IBEE SOUTH
L M OV E
TO WERRIBE MANSION E & OPEN RANG E ZOO
SR OA D
TO CO WY VE ND
ND TO WY COVE
S LA PER
2011 Hadspen Outline Development Plan Wentworth Point Urban Design Review
Wentworth Point is a large renewal precinct near Sydney Olympic Park. The main landowners had proposed a new pedestrian, cycle and public transport bridge across Homebush Bay to the train station and town centre at Rhodes, but needed an additional 120,000m2 of floorspace to pay for it. We were engaged to review the Development Control Plan to identify how the additional development could be accommodated. We identified that the greater accessibility resulting from the bridge warranted additional intensity, along with a refocusing of the layout of the development. The changes were approved and the bridge has now been built without cost to the public purse.
“In my phone ‘interview’, Mark, Jenny and Dave spent 10 minutes arguing about which footy team I should barrack for!”
Max Walton “One thing I enjoyed most was the conversations on humble bean
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at DLA.
bags with my colleagues from many countries, who brought multiple
There was a great sense of community
disciplinary knowledge and skills along with their stories of adventure and
and everybody had a story to tell.”
sense of humour.”
“My first all staff meeting occurred “I vividly recall trying to wake Jenny to catch an early morning flight back
about two weeks into my time at DLA
from Mildura by banging on her hotel room door (with Peter Baker),
Australia. Up until then, although on
with the taxi idling by the kerb and our flight due to leave in 20min! She
the other side of the world, there was
eventually answered the door, once we’d woken half the hotel, and we
a sense of familiarity with how things
made the pre-dawn dash to the airport with a cheeky cab driver who
were done back in the UK office. It
assured us we’d most definitely missed the flight and wouldn’t speed
wasn’t until the beers got passed
despite Jen’s numerous requests to ‘drive faster’. Fortunately, Mildura
around that I understood the real
airport isn’t big and security also non-existent (back in 2006), so we just
difference and thought “I could get
made it, much to Jen’s relief.”
used to this!”
“David K often ended his studio meeting wrap-up on a summary of the
“I have fond memories of working
changes to the office infrastructure and furniture. For my 2 years at DLA,
next to the Grand Prix. Nothing quite
there was not one change, yet David observed this update with diligence
prepares you for the inability to
and commitment. It became his signature resolution to the studio
communicate with somebody less
meeting and I think epitomised his good-hearted and humorous nature.”
than 5m away due to the sound of F1
engines. For all the collective suffering it was only Alastair who had a permanent grin fixed to his face, gleefully identifying drivers as they came into view for a millisecond.”
2012-2016: A Bali retreat
A desire to “do interesting work” was the explicit driving force behind our business choices in
Strong financial results enabled us to take the whole team to Bali for a 15-year anniversary retreat
the early years. However, there was also an unspoken ambition to facilitate what we thought to
in 2013. This was an opportunity to collectively review and set out our direction for the next five
be good development—that which creates great places. Although we never articulated exactly
years without the distraction of day-to-day work. We also took the opportunity to visit the Hindu
what ‘good development’ was in those days, Mark, Jenny and David had a shared understanding
University of Indonesia and talk with the leaders of its planning course.
from their work and study in the UK. David Lock had chaired the company’s board from its inception, providing savvy guidance from We came to realise early on that interesting work often lies at the intersection of planning and
afar alongside DLA UK directors Will Cousins, Jim Urwin and Lawrence Revill. However, by 2015
urban design, and that there was a niche for urban designers who understand planning and
we realised that a key to our ongoing growth was more accessible guidance and local knowledge
planners who understand urban design. As a result, we train our planners to be design-literate
around the board table. This led to the appointment of Michael McDonald as our second chair.
and our urban designers to appreciate planning implications. We add planners to urban design
Along with knowledge of the local business environment, Michael brought a keen focus on
jobs and urban designers to planning jobs, to make sure that all of our work represents best
strategy, challenging us to develop greater clarity about our direction.
practice on both fronts. Many of our team members are qualified and experienced in both fields. Annette Toussas was appointed as our first General Manager in 2016. Annette instilled improved DLA was built on a foundation of public sector work. Within five years of establishment, we’d
financial discipline and a more business-like culture, without detracting from our focus on high
worked for most of Australia’s state development agencies and enjoyed repeat work with many
quality work and a relaxed and fun office environment.
Melbourne councils. Another key arrival in 2016 was Jonathan Halaliku. Jonathan reinvigorated our planning team and Work for landowners and developers grew more slowly, but eventually took over as our primary
would go on to become an important member of our leadership team.
source of revenue. The preparation of structure plans and urban design frameworks for town centres was complemented by urban design advice and planning applications for higher-density,
In 2012, we were appointed to prepare master plans for the Redfern and Waterloo Housing
mixed-use development. The preparation of structure plans for renewal and growth areas was
Estates in Sydney. This was the first of many commissions to guide the renewal of social housing
complemented by master plans on behalf of landowners and developers.
precincts in Victoria and New South Wales, which enabled us to develop particular expertise in deploying development to ‘normalise’ these stigmatised places.
To this day, our balanced portfolio of work for both the public and private sectors remains a distinguishing feature of the business. Apart from hedging us against shifts in the economy,
Development was booming during this period, creating a need for new built form controls to
it improves the quality of our advice. Our work for the public sector is enhanced by a sound
guide renewal in parts of Melbourne’s inner city. This led to an increasing flow of commissions to
knowledge of the drivers of commercial development, and our private sector projects benefit
peer review those controls and provide expert evidence about them at panel hearings, on behalf
from a deep appreciation of contemporary planning aspirations.
of both planning authorities and landowners.
Eventually we realised that we needed to document what we believe and are most expert in, to act
Smart Cities also emerged as a new field during this time, and David Klingberg took up the
as a framework for making decisions about projects, and so that we can be clear to prospective
challenge of growing business in that area, winning work for the City of Newcastle. His passion
employees what we’re about. So we embarked on a process of crystallising our vision as a practice,
for this work ultimately led to him leaving DLA to establish Smart Planning and Design.
which eventually led to the simple goal that drives us today: to create a better lived experience by facilitating and shaping changes in the use, ownership and development of land. 25
Launceston Central Area Development Strategy
Port Adelaide Precinct Plan
Redfern & Waterloo Housing Estate Master Plans
Sydney Road Corridor Strategic Framework Plan
After the Redfern and Waterloo public housing estates in Sydney were identified for potential renewal, we were commissioned by the Land and Housing Corporation to prepare master plans to guide their staged redevelopment. The aim was to enable the replacement of ageing social housing with new, fit-forpurpose apartments. But we also showed how more balanced communities could be created through the integration of private housing, and how the urban environment could be ‘normalised’ by introducing conventional streets, local shops and parks. Subsequent work for UrbanGrowth led to the identification of Waterloo as the location for a new Metro station to support the renewal.
The Sydney Road and Upfield Rail Corridor in Brunswick, Melbourne, has huge potential to accommodate sustainable growth. We were engaged by Moreland City Council to prepare a Strategic Framework Plan to guide that growth. We didn’t want to unnecessarily constrain development in such a suitable location. So rather than prescribing the form of new buildings, we established parameters that would allow growth to be optimised on each site while achieving the desired character and amenity outcomes. The resulting planning controls have already facilitated substantial renewal.
LEGEND PRECINCT BOUNDARY ACTIVATION ACTIVE WATERFRONT
ON ST NELS
WA UW A ST REET
ACTIVE EDGES MOVEMENT
PUBLIC PROMENADE (PE
MAJOR VEHICLE ACCESS
ROAD / BRIDGE LANDSC
POTENTIAL WATER BASE
FISHING BOATS MARKET DEVELOPMENT
BUILT FORM BEDFORD STREET
EXISTING LANDMARK BU
POTENTIAL LANDMARK B
NOTABLE BUILDINGS (NO NEW BUILT FORM
CH ST REET
7+ STOREYS PUBLIC REALM
PUBLIC OPEN SPACE
STREETSCAPE IMPROVE URBAN PLAZA
JOB : PORT ADELAIDE RENEWA
CODE : CHL002 28 DATE : 8 MAY 2013 SCALE : 1:7500 @ A3
2015 MCIVOR RESERVE
Prospect Vale & Blackstone Heights Structure Plan
Nunawading Brickworks Master Plan FR
SP AUSNET BROOKLYN TERMINAL STATION
DSE FIRE MANAGEMENT
HT LI N E
QUARRY PARK (2.94HA)
COMMUNITY FACILITY (0.4HA) LINEAR PARK (0.75HA)
The former Nunawading Brickworks in suburban Melbourne represents a major infill development opportunity in an area lacking housing diversity. We were asked to prepare a master plan to inform the rezoning of the land. Although much of the site was required to be cleared, our plan capitalised on a tall brick chimney to establish a unique sense of place for the development.
ITALIAN SOCIAL CLUB
St Kilda Road is an iconic corridor of high-rise office and apartment buildings and tram routes leading out of the Melbourne CBD. Port Phillip City Council proposed new built form controls designed to protect views of the nearby Shrine of Remembrance and manage the form of new development. We were engaged to undertake an independent review of the proposed controls to inform their review by an independent panel. We identified a number of changes to better optimise the capacity for growth, which were adopted.
St Kilda Rd North Planning Scheme Amendment
H Y LE
Gardiner Station Urban Design Framework
Hobsons Bay Precinct 15 Design Principles
CAWLEY INDUSTRIAL PARK
PP3 (0.3HA) MIXED USE AREA (1.34HA)
RJ COOPER RESERVE
NEWPORT LAKES PARK
20m Power Easement
Private Open Space
2m Landscape Setbacks
Front loaded townhouse (Integrated parking)
Rear loaded townhouse (Integrated parking)
Rear loaded townhouse
"It was the end of my first week at DLA and the group had
Greensborough Urban Design & Landscape
decided to go for drinks and a meal. When the waiter showed up
with our dishes I misheard him and ended up eating Mark’s dinner.
Waterloo Station Master Plan
Melbourne Central City Built Form Controls
Pressure for additional floor space in the Melbourne CBD led to a proposal for new built form controls to protect the amenity of the public realm and ensure good internal amenity. We were engaged to provide an independent peer review of these controls. Our advice was influential in shaping the final controls.
"I enjoyed running the student comp a few
It was not ideal to eat my new boss’s meal on my first week, but it
years ago now - Reimagine the Junction. It
did get me noticed."
was a great challenge and fantastic to discover Carlos Reyes."
Kathryn Cuddihy 110m 125m 146m
"Working on the Ho Chi Minh City BRT system with ITP has been one of the highlights of my career to date. On that project Dave
"I was feeling ecstatic as I received the first
Klingberg and I had the chance to go to HCMC to work alongside
prize on DLA and ARUP’s student competition,
the ITP team and undertake a number of community engagement
moreover as it was from the hands of a judging
workshops as part of a corridor study to inform the design of the
panel involved in the design of some of my
BRT stations. Not only was it set to be a transformational project
favourite public spaces in Melbourne. However,
for the city, but the process and outcomes of the workshops were
joining a wonderful group of people at DLA,
phenomenal, and led to design guidelines that reflected the city’s
willing to mentor me as I took my first steps
unique local identity."
in urban planning and design, was the best to come out of this."
Jessica Christiansen-Franks "One of my fondest memories thus far was when Mark and I attended an inspection at the mill at 45 Gibdon Street, Richmond
"DLA really felt like a family, a family of people
which is still operating as grain store and malting plant. Once we
from all over the world, and coming to work was
were in our PPE we proceeded on a tour of how the mill operates
a pleasure. We enjoyed a serious and very social
and how it will be transformed into boutique apartments. The
work life and were so lucky in the diversity and
views from the top of the mill were incredible!"
exposure to projects we got involved in. In my time there the highlights had to be the team bonding trip to Bali, a day out at the country races and work trips to Port Fairy!"
Jane Witham "The best part of DLA was the people. I feel really lucky to have met some amazing people during my time there. I’ve kept in touch with a number of them who I feel will be life long friends."
"We all loved playing pranks on each other. Everyone would come together and plan some exciting and creative pranks. Whether it be changing Max’s keyboard letters or Al convincing (rather scaring) me to go on a radio station for the Capithetical competition!"
Amruta Pandhe 31
A fulfilling workplace
2017-2020: Leaving home
We’ve always felt that the primary purpose of the business is to enable as many people as possible to have fulfilling
The last four years of DLA saw a series of landmark changes to the business.
careers, as a balanced part of happy and meaningful lives. This has strongly influenced how we run the business and hopefully created a rewarding place to work.
Having seen us through a period of change, Michael McDonald stepped down as chair to concentrate on other interests. Following a wide-ranging search, Graeme Parton was appointed to replace him. Graeme brought extensive
We’ve always strived to pay better than market salaries (although this wasn’t possible in the early years). We’ve also
experience as a board member and in development advisory, enabling him to provide valuable guidance during the
inherited a culture from DLA UK of sharing a decent proportion of the profits with all employees, believing that this
next phase of the business’s growth.
is an appropriate reward for their hard work. Equity is offered to senior team members, recognising their contribution to the success of the business.
Lawrence Revill retired from DLA UK and the Australian board in 2019. In the same year, Annette Toussas was appointed as a director, recognising her contribution to the board in terms of financial analysis, and more broadly as a senior
But we know that most professionals are not driven by money when it comes to choosing their workplace. Instead, it
member of the team. This shifted the balance of the board to a largely local membership.
is opportunities for autonomy, learning and fulfilling work that influence employment choices. 2019 also saw the arrival of Rob Milner to DLA. As a recognised leader of the planning profession in Melbourne, Rob As a small-medium sized firm, we’ve been able to maintain lean management systems and avoid an overbearing
brought a strong reputation for high quality planning work to the company. He also brought major new areas of work
hierarchy. Our most experienced people love sharing their knowledge, and work among those with less experience,
in public acquisitions and restrictive covenants, as well as independent planning evidence. And, most importantly,
providing opportunities for informal mentoring and learning. Anyone can ask anyone else for help or guidance, or
Rob brought 40 years of experience to share with our up-and-coming team.
just to provide a second pair of eyes on something. Everyone is invited to contribute ideas to projects, and no one is above pitching in on the more mundane tasks when work hits a peak.
In 2018, we began holding annual 3-day conferences outside Melbourne. These events are designed to bring the whole team together to review and refine our strategies, and simply to get to know each other better. We always
We take the responsibility of developing our employees’ technical and consultancy skills seriously. This informs what
come away from these events newly invigorated for the year ahead.
projects they work on, and who with, to maximise the range of challenges and mentors they are exposed to. Projects are resourced on a case-by-case basis, rather than according to fixed teams. Everyone works with everyone else.
In the same year, we inaugurated an annual internal ideas competition to promote innovation in relation to the creation of more compact cities.
We prize learning highly, and invest in it through formal training and informal knowledge-sharing activities. The exploration of new ideas is encouraged, and celebrated through our annual compact cities ideas competition.
The Victorian and New South Wales governments began investing more heavily in transport infrastructure and public housing renewal during this period. This led to a number of interesting projects for the company, expanding our
We care about each other. The primary purpose of our move from South Melbourne to the Melbourne CBD in late
experience into new areas. Another major piece of work was a peer review of the planning framework for Fishermans
2019 was to reduce commuting times for employees. We support part-time work and flexible working hours to enable
Bend, Australia’s largest urban renewal project.
our staff to choose how they want to integrate work within their lives, or with study. We recognise the importance of birthdays as family events by designating them as an extra day of leave.
We turned 21 years old in 2019, and decided it was time to leave home. We’d been in South Melbourne since the foundation of the company, but recognised that it wasn’t the most accessible location for our growing team. Resolving
Work can affect people’s physical and mental health. We have a wellness officer whose role is to identify ways in which
to move into the Melbourne CBD, our search led us to Level 25 of 500 Collins Street, in Midtown. We took advantage
we can provide a healthier workplace.
of the opportunity to fit out a new office to refine our way of working, introducing a diverse range of collaborative and contemplative spaces surrounding a collegial work environment.
And of course, work should be fun! We employ positive people, and love finding new ways to enjoy each others’ company. 33
Heidelberg West Urban Design Framework
Manor Lakes Structure Plan
Emu Creek Town Centre Design Framework
Fishermans Bend Framework Peer Review
Ormond Station Integrated Development
Ormond Station contained one of the first ‘integrated development opportunities’ associated with the removal of a railway level crossing in Melbourne. The potential for transit-oriented development and the cost of building over a railway cutting meant the proposed Ormond Place building height was challenging for the local community. We were engaged by the developer (Dealcorp) and rail authority (VicTrack) to Perspective 01 help set built form and design parameters to ensure the development strikes an appropriate balance between competing objectives. Our advice and expert evidence informed new planning controls that are now facilitating the development. PRECINCT C
EXTENT OF CONCRETE DECK
LOADING DOCK & RETAIL WASTE
RETAIL 140 CARS + 72 CARS LEVEL 1 MEZZANINE
12 No. NEWHAM RD 2STOREY TOWNHOUSES
SHOP 306 m²
ORMOND STATION REDEVELOPMENT ORMOND A2
115 Sackville Street Collingwood Victoria 3066 Telephone (03) 9419 4340 Facsimile (03) 9419 4345 Email email@example.com www.chc.com.au
GROUND LEVEL RETAIL CARPARK, STATION ENTRY & GROUND LEVEL RETAIL
1 : 500 @ A2
15138/SK101c © ClarkeHopkinsClarke 2014
Fishermans Bend is Australia’s largest urban renewal area, comprising 450ha of industrial land on the doorstep of the Melbourne CBD. In 2018, the Victorian Government proposed a new planning framework to guide the transformation of the four neighbourhoods zoned for mixed-use development. We were engaged to provide an urban design assessment of the proposed planning framework, ultimately concluding that they had a sound basis but lacked flexibility. The independent panel charged with advising the government on its merits adopted most of our recommendations.
2019 Buckley Street, Seddon Master Plan
Level 25, 500 Collins Street
Ascot Value Housing Estate Planning Application
ST U D RO AD
Dandenong Plaza in Melbourne is a classic 1980s internalised shopping mall, largely isolated from the surrounding city centre by a sea of car parking. The reduction of its retail floor area as a result of the departure of an anchor tenant created an opportunity to introduce new residential and mixed-use development at the edges of the site. We were commissioned by the shopping centre owner to prepare a master plan for the property. Our design strategy was to introduce a permeable network of new connections and public spaces that will stitch the shopping mall into the surrounding urban fabric and create a welcoming environment to support high-density development.
SL EE TH AV E
ST UA RT ST RE ET
Dandenong Plaza Master Plan
CLO W ST RE ET
L PA M
STREET LO NS DA LE
ST RE ET
RA EE T
30 | JUNE 2019 | DANDENONG PLAZA MASTER PLAN | URBAN CONTEXT AND DESIGN RESPONSE REPORT
VA SE Y
Figure 12. Illustrative Master Plan
Kinetica founding members
The first 21 years of DLA’s life was a bit like the growth of a child. We learnt to do business like a toddler learns to walk—with many stumbles along the way. As a teenager, we thought we knew everything, eventually to realise that we had much more to learn about good practice in planning, urban design and business. The last couple of years have been nothing short of a reinvention of the company. Starting with better business disciplines and the crystallisation of our vision and values, continuing with a transformation of our planning offer, and culminating in our move to a ‘grown up’ office in the CBD, we are no longer the business we were. Paralleling these changes, we agreed with DLA UK that it is time to undo our formal corporate ties, while retaining a strong informal relationship. It became clear to us that this reinvention of the business needed to be expressed outwardly. We began the process of refreshing our graphic identity, but ultimately concluded that the significance of the changes demanded a new company name. DLA has been predominantly known for urban design expertise, and the name reflects our history as a satellite of an English business. A new name offered the opportunity to establish a refined brand, based on a home-grown organisation featuring planners and urban designers trusted for their expertise and independence. Our new company name, Kinetica, reflects our passion for change. We facilitate and shape changes in the use, ownership and development of land to create a better lived experience. Kinetica retains the best of DLA—highly regarded independent urban design expertise—and combines it with leading and independent planning expertise. Kinetica: Trusted experts, shaping the future.
Alison Milner • Amy Ikhayanti • Annette Toussas • Danielle Cull • Jacky Cashman Jane Witham • Jonathan Halaliku • Julia Bell • Krishna Keerthi • Kyle O’Brien Mark Sheppard • Michael Mattner • Nicole Donnison • Rob Milner • Sam Palma Tanya Williams • Tim Nichols • Vincent Pham Graham Parton [Non-executive chair] • Will Cousins [Non-executive board member] 39
Image credits: Page 5. Melbourne Built Form Controls Review model view: Orbit Solutions Page 5. Rippleside aerial perspective: Orbit Solutions Page 23. Wentworth Point aerial perspective: Scott Carver Page 29. St Kilda Rd North Planning Scheme Amendment: RotheLowman Page 35. Ormond Station perspective: Clarke Hopkins Clarke Page 36. Fishermans Bend map: State of Victoria - with annotations Page 37. Ascot Vale Housing Estate Planning Application: Tract Consultants Page 37. Buckley Street, Seddon Master Plan: Aspect Studios
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Kinetica: the evolution of DLA