The Architects Institute of Australia (AIA), the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) and the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) have confirmed a willingness to work together to develop a shared approach to professional acknowledgement of urban design and urban designers in Australia, and have set up a process to explore how that can best be achieved. The first meeting was held in Sydney in August. It was recognized that:
• AILA currently has a process for registration of urban designers in place, which is still in its infancy and open to further development; • PIA is commencing a review of its membership categories, including relevant criteria for each category.
At the first workshop, it was agreed that there are potentially three key stages relevant to meeting the objective in this collaborative approach between the three institutes: ‘Recognition’; ‘Accreditation’ and ‘Registration’. It was noted that that the different organisations do or may use these terms to denote different things, and that the nomenclature will be reviewed and may be changed at a later date, once agreement is in place between the three institutes as to the approach and processes to be adopted.
It was agreed to continue to use the term ‘urban design’ as the phrase best able to describe the skill set, competencies, values and outcomes we mean, as opposed to ‘urbanism’, ’urbanology’ or any other phrase.
In terms of an outline draft process, the three stages mentioned above would encompass:
Recognition a) Internal agreement on draft position • agree what we collectively mean by the term ‘Urban Design’, noting that • UD is considered to be not architecture, not landscape architecture and not planning; • The outcomes of UD need to be identified as part of its definition; • Acknowledgement should be made of the socio-political and economic aspects of UD, along with its scope in the urban realm, and its nature as a design-led discipline; • There are other good models in Europe, the UK and the US that should be considered; • agree on the core competencies, knowledge bases and skill sets that ‘define’ an ‘urban designer’. It was agreed these should be generally inclusive and broad. They need to be considered in terms of education of urban designers as well as recognition of establish practitioners; • establish a process whereby joint recognition of urban designers could be implemented by the three institutes.
b) Consultation • Establish an external reference group comprising relevant representatives of a number of universities running Urban Design degree courses, industry colleagues (eg Engineers, Consult Australia, and others to be identified), and other relevant groups); • The three Institutes consult with members, coordinated to ensure consistency.
c) Finalisation of agreed process, nomenclature, definitions, etc.
Accreditation • Main objectives and process to be developed for accreditation via a national standard; • Establishment of core competencies will clarify and influence course requirements.
Registration • Main objectives and process to be developed for national registration of urban designers (acknowledging this term is currently in use by AILA, and may be reviewed by AILA at a later date), noting: • There is potential for establishment for a register of urban designers to be co-run/endorsed/recognized by the three institutes (non-legislative); • Words other than ‘registration’ could be considered if it is agreed that is necessary, appropriate or desirable (eg ‘certified’, ‘accredited’, ‘chartered’, etc.
A preliminary diagram (with due recognition to Peter Richards’ original ‘daisy’) graphically illustrates the breath of interests and involvement in urban design that need to be considered. Needless to say, this exciting exploration to give better recognition to urban design and urban designers is ongoing. If you have any comments to make, contact your relevant institute (AIA, PIA, AILA) directly. If you are not connected to any of the institutes, comments can be sent to UDF at [email protected]