In the three days that was the 2023 Planning Institute of Australia National Congress, we observed:

  • A series of projects rewarded at the National Awards for Planning Excellence that have demonstrated best practice as assessed by their peers, across categories spanning strategic planning and First Nations engagement, to planning for resilience and technology and innovation. These awards play a critical role in helping verify the leadership and investment government, industry and academia make to push for better communities
  • A continuing dedication to planning for First Nations dialogue, resulting in greater awareness and pride of our nations historical and ancient past, and its power to inform the future of the planning profession and the way we shape our cities, regions and communities
  • A profession that continues to bring diverse city shapers together to network and exchange knowledge – from planning and urban design, net zero and geospatial, to data science and economic development. This plays a crucial role in helping shape collaborative partnerships and new approaches to helping solve sustained challenges
  • A growing intrigue and awareness of the role of digital and data transformation in both the planning process, and how it supports the digital economy, sustainability and our liveability. And with a mobilising PlanTech agenda the Planning Institute and its members have not only an opportunity to harness new tools and approaches to planning, but also what we want to plan for.

As part of the Congress proceedings our Head of Digital Urbanism Adam Beck presented on the challenging yet exciting scenarios playing out in our streets – what we consider to be some of the most important public space in our cities.

Because it is within the right-of-way that we move, shop, experience and engage with daily life. It is within this space that our core utilities are buried, and deployed overhead. It is within this space that our digital lifestyles (think online shopping) have a very real physical planning and design impact. And it within this space that governance is not a simple linier path, but a messy one.

Planning for land use, planning for mobility, planning for economic development and planning for digital connectivity must be integrated if we are to optimise the real value of the digital economy, we operate in. But with digital connectivity planning undertaken in isolation of traditional public infrastructure and public service planning, local government remains hamstrung in its ability to offer the best services and public outcomes to its community and businesses.

Image Credit: Planning Institute of Australia

From left: Darren Crombie (President at Planning Institute of Australia), Simone Saunders (CEO at City of Darwin) and Adam Beck (Head of Digital Urbanism at ENE.HUB).