The Hobart City Council has appointed George Wilkie as Executive Manager City Design to prepare an Inner City Action Plan to be presented to the Council later this year. The plan is in response to the study report prepared by Gehl Architects; Hobart 2010, Public Spaces & Public Life, A city with people in mind, and to the responses generated from an extensive period of community engagement and consultation. This constitutes the first stage of the of Hobart’s Inner City Development Plan. The Council on receipt of the Gehl report immediately opened it for public comment and discussion, and has carefully avoided publishing any likely responses or reactions until all members of the greater Hobart community are able to consider the report and to lodge their opinions. The whole report can be viewed on the Council’s website, www. hobartcity.com.au In conjunction with its desire to provide A city with people in mind, the Council strongly supports the development of a professional urban design centre for excellence in Tasmania. The University of Tasmania has indicated support for this concept, and further discussions will be conducted to structure an operational relationship.
Discussions have taken place with the State Architect, Peter Poulet, and he supports the concept of a centre for excellence in urban design. These discussions recognise that there are a number of educational institutions and professional bodies representing consultants and practitioners in the fields that constitute urban design. Currently there is no dedicated organisation in Tasmania that people working in urban design can join for professional, collegiate and social interaction.
Urban Design Forum provides a degree of information distribution, but there are limitations to the extent of its influence without a representative body for urban designers. It is therefore considered that an important preliminary step in establishing a ‘centre for excellence’ is to foster a ‘federation of urban designers’ who practice, or desire to practice in Tasmania. The term federation has been chosen to allow membership by urban designers who belong to other professional institutes and associations without imposing on those bodies. A meeting has been scheduled and a range of relevant representatives invited. It is hoped that an agreement can be reached to support the establishment of a Federation of Tasmanian Urban Designers and the Centre for Excellence in Urban Design, Tasmania.