NSW News & Media

NSW President's Message - 20 March 2017


My presidency is quickly coming to an end. We have had nominations for the new executive and shortly Julie, Josh and I will have completed two and a half years and handed over the reins.

A lot has changed in NSW in this time. Newcastle and Wollongong have become more important partner cities to Sydney with new housing growth and infrastructure. The country towns have become more and more desirable alternatives in which to live and work. But it’s been all about Sydney really...


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NSW President's Message - 6 March 2017


It’s frustrating working on things that you know are important to the community, when those things aren’t well valued (or at all valued) as part of cost benefit calculations. (If you are not aware, cost benefit calculations underpin most work that is happening these days. They influence the scope of a project and are popular and powerful in high level decision making, particularly in the spending of public money).

There are several design problems that arise with relying on them. Two that spring to mind...



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NSW President's Message - 20 February 2017

When at school you sometimes wondered why you need to learn certain things. Calculus, quadratic equations, who Titania and Oberon were or thermodynamics. I looked it up. Thermodynamics is the study of heat and energy and atoms. It turns out that that moving atoms make something hot or energetic. Atoms move slowest in solids and fastest in gases. So to make a solid or liquid turn into a gas you need to add energy to speed up the atoms. When you add energy to something you are taking it away from somewhere else. (still with me?). 

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Call for Nominations - NSW Elections - 6 February 2017

The two year term by the current NSW Executive team: Gareth Collins (President), Josh French (Vice-President) and Julie Lee (Secretary) is almost up. Are you interested in taking on one of these roles driving AILA NSW further forward as a powerful voice championing quality design for public open spaces, stronger communities and greater environmental stewardship? Please send all nominations to nsw@aila.org.au by Friday 3 March 2017 along with a completed Nomination Form. Voting will take place in March.

Email your confidential nomination

NSW President's Message - 6 February 2017


The design of the wall - in its sense as an artefact in the landscape - is firmly in the domain of the landscape architect. Some of the most beautiful walls were built as part of the stately homes and civic buildings of the 18th and 19th century by landscape architects. They were thought of as expressions of the grandeur of the estate, a means of channelling visitors through even grander gateways, a defence of the property from intrusion from the weather, noise, populace or wildlife, or a simple demarcation of property owned. In some cases the wall wasn’t visible from the building and a retaining wall and ditch, called a ha-ha wall, provided the effect of the estate extending forever into the landscape. The name came from the mildly humorous effect of discovering the hidden wall. “Ha ha!” as Alan Partridge would say.

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NSW President's Message - 23 January 2017


Happy New Year

A recent bid I have been reviewing got me thinking about the quality of design teams and the inclusion of the calibre of landscape architects that will give stakeholders comfort that they are getting the best outcome. Experience, manner and the consistent production of good quality projects is what counts. Yet so often, even with all of these qualities, the recognition is hard to gain. There’s a lot to be said for quiet achievement, but if it’s too quiet then it can be problematic to secure that stakeholder confidence so needed in delivering projects today.

I think this is where our institute comes in...

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NSW President's Message - 5 December 2016


The year is drawing to a close. I can tell because everyone wants to have a meeting before the 15th December!


Thank you all for your input over the year. Whether you are a member quietly going about your own business or someone involved in the committees, events, review panels or awards – your contribution is greatly valued...

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AILA Fresh x AILA NSW Parramatta Cruisin' 2016 - The Wrap Up

It was a balmy 24 degrees in sunny Sydney Friday 11th November when 120 landscape architects, students, graduates and seasoned professionals alike set sail from Kings Street Wharf for the 2016 Cruise!

We made our way west up the Parramatta River hearing from 8 studios on a range of significant projects, with a focus on the environmental impacts of design and construction on the river.


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NSW President's Message - 21 November 2016


The 9th Urban Design Conference was held in Canberra on the 7 & 8 November, a week after the Landscape Festival. The broad theme was ‘Smart Cities for 21st Century Australia’ and there was an eclectic mix of talks and diverse professions represented over the two days.

It's an important conference for landscape architects. To achieve our Green Infrastructure objectives we need to work with urban design processes and policies. It's also a chance to hear from other professions and design challenges. Landscape Architects and AILA were well represented at the conference with several in attendance and also talking. Jon Hazelwood, David Vago and myself spoke on a range of topics from sustainable urban food production, the nature in developing Chinese cities and automated vehicles and the impact they may have on our cities.

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NSW President's Message - 7 November 2016

In July 1945 the first nuclear bomb was tested in New Mexico. This is widely considered to be the first day of the Anthropocene - the start point of the epoch where the Earth’s climate and environment is being shaped and changed by humans. When we look back, the radioactive layer from nuclear fallout will mark the geological calendar as the end of the Holocene (the previously thought current geological epoch).

How we shape the Anthropocene for good or bad, (assuming we can) is down to humans. The Anthropocene - the epoch of human influence of the landscape - is by definition “the age for landscape architects.”

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NSW President's Message - 24 October 2016

Last Friday marked 50 years since the Aberfan disaster in South Wales. It was a terrible catastrophe caused by next to no consideration of the practice of disposing of coal mine waste. 116 school children were killed and 28 adults, when at 9.15am, a saturated spoil heap liquefied and flowed down the mountain, engulfing a school and row of terrace houses. My interest in this story stems from my background and place of birth, but as a landscape architect it has always interested me as a very practical aspect of our need to learn from, and work with, nature.


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NSW President's Message - 10 October 2016

It was World Habitat Day on Wednesday. A few of us managed to attend a United Nations Forum called the ‘Future we Want’ at the Mint in Sydney. I was asked to attend and speak about the importance of the landscape in SDG 11. I was overshadowed somewhat by a presentation from Ron Garan. He gave a very moving talk about his journey to the International Space Station, his 6 months’ work there and time spent gazing down, and his return to Earth with a new perspective on life. His talk about our ‘pale blue dot’ was very relevant to landscape architects and our way of thinking.

The Government Architect has recently asked us to comment on the new 'Better Placed' draft Architecture and Design Policy for NSW. As part of the role of our NSW Advocacy Committee (current members are Adam Fowler, James Grant, SueEllen Fitzgerald, Noel Corkery, Linda Corkery and myself) we will be preparing feedback to this. If you would like to contribute to this consolidated AILA NSW response please send through your feedback to nsw@aila.org.au byThurs 20 October.

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NSW President's Message - 26 September 2016

I think there is a case for all government departments to renovate old unused public buildings rather than paying rent. The benefits to the areas in which they are located are significant: it frees up office space for companies who don’t own buildings; it is a wiser use of public money; it makes heritage fabric useful and hence protected; and it is potentially more sustainable than constructing new buildings. The same could be said for old open space. There are a lot of parks that are poorly designed for today’s needs - not being used to their fullest, lacking trees and shade, lacking flexibility for mixed uses. It would be good to invest in improving existing public space as well as public buildings.

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NSW President's Message - 12 September 2016

There’s usually an element of the visionary about budding landscape architects. I remember friends who variously wanted to take over all studios and change the design world; redesign the south west of England; design golf courses all over the Middle East (he did); or implement the Dutch Woonerf system across Northern Europe (why stop there?). My naive wish was to be asked by NASA to help design a space habitat - think the rotating world-let that Matthew McConaughey wakes up in at the end of Interstellar. (I'm still interested if anyone needs help!)



David Vago pays tribute to a flamboyant friend

It was with sadness that we heard that Made Wijaya had passed away in Sydney on 29 August 2016. A true inspiration to the profession, mentor to many and supporter of AILA, read David Vago's beautiful tribute below.

READ the tribute here


NSW Presidents Message - 29 August 2016

Firstly Happy Birthday. We are now 50 years old. For those who could make it, I hope you enjoyed our party at Austral Studios.  A lot has been happening this month - AILA NSW hosted key leaders from a range of government private and institutional bodies at an engaging series of presentations and discussions at the Living Cities Summit.   The plan covers the recognition, funding, implementation, improvement and assessment of green infrastructure initiatives with the ultimate aim of improving the liveability, productivity and sustainability of Australian cities.  An innovation workshop was held last week focusing on the White Bay Power Station area, the key recommendation was that the district should be part of the city fabric not a separate campus.  AILA NSW is involved and providing high level feedback to UrbanGrowth on the Bays Precinct generally.



NSW Presidents Message - 15 August 2016

I’m enjoying Game of Thrones - I'm a little late in taking it up. Aside from all the violence and nudity, it’s very urban design. Firstly the locations are a landscape architects dream and secondly the setting is only part of the urban design story.The politics is the other dimension. The alliances that the different characters form are essential to achieve their goals. Now is the time to pursue our agenda and get things done. Before the politics and economics inevitably picks up a different thread, a well-loved character is brutally murdered...

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NSW Presidents Message - 4 July 2016


I heard with dismay at the AIA Built Environment Committee last night that the decision had been made to locate the Barangaroo Hotel / casino on the foreshore blocking views and requiring public space to be located away from our harbour and behind the new building.

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NSW President's Message - 6 June 2016


We are coming up to 18 months since the new AILA NSW executive started. Superbly managed by Catherine and Carly, that’s about 39 newsletters, 18 executive meetings, over 50 AILA NSW committee meetings, 18 AIA Built Environment meetings, 40 or so AILA NSW and AILA Fresh events, $90,000 in sponsorship revenue, 30 or so new members, two award programs, two profitable years for AILA NSW, two new fellows (Phil Coxall and Graham Fletcher) and one Christmas party.  Find out about our advocacy achievements here... Read More









NSW President's Message - 9 May 2016

Landscape architects are the conductors of our built landscape (cities). We have been taught to think big and consider our whole built environment and how we and nature coexist in it. We need to be strategic to both make sure our cities are improved and also set guidelines on the detail by others. Our value and strength is in understanding the whole picture and making sure the individual parts integrate and contribute. A recent new ‘conductor’ that has joined AILA is Rod Simpson – as well as his role in education, Rod is the new Commissioner for the Environment in the Greater Sydney Commission. I recently asked him why he joined... Read More









NSW President's Message - 26 April 2016



Australia’s first Future Transport Summit was held April 18 at which it was announced a self driving or Autonomous Vehicle (AV) car testing laboratory would be built in Western Sydney. If AVs take off in Australia there will be fundamental changes to our built environment and it is important we as landscape architects get involved in the debate.  So what will change?

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NSW President's Message - 11 April 2016


At the Landscape Architects conference in Melbourne, the Welcome to country by Auntie Diane made a big impression on many of us. Daniel Bennett raised it in his very first newsletter as president. Her simple but profound words about the landscape, as she thought of it, and the call she made for us to take our shoes off and go and walk on the grass. It jolted me into thinking about the deep and clear understanding the Aboriginal people have of country and place. It made me wonder whether we were doing enough to tap into that deep knowledge, to improve our understanding of the landscape and hence improve design outcomes.

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NSW President's Message - 29 March 2016


The AILA NSW Landscape Heritage Committee held its first workshop for the landscape heritage listing project on Monday 14 March. The project, initiated by AILA NSW Landscape Heritage Committee now funded and overseen by the Office of Environment and Heritage, is a vital piece of work to identify landscapes of importance to the future of NSW. Historically there has been a stronger focus on the built rather than landscape heritage and this study is an effort to redress this imbalance.

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NSW President's Message - 14 March 2016


On Friday last week the prime minister firmly placed the quality of our cities as one of the top economic drivers and priorities for government. That’s good news for landscape architects, green infrastructure has got to be pretty high up on any city’s ability to attract and maintain a thriving, productive and happy population. AILA is calling this a living city. So how do we achieve it? Shaping work to ensure it isn’t a stand-alone inconsiderate land use but a beneficial contribution to the whole - called a conscience and also more directly a ‘license to operate’.

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NSW President's Message - 29 February 2016

Someone recounted a story to me this week - we were talking about Western Sydney and what makes a city. The dry practical player in the story claimed that cities need to start with sewerage, clean water supplies - the usual essentials. The more creative player was saying that cities need to start with parks, green infrastructure - the things that make a city pleasant and liveable. The thing to do is get both right We have drafted a position to the Department of Planning that calls for Western Sydney to be a Parkland City. A city in balance with the eastern harbour city. By coincidence, Bruce Mackenzie sent me a photo story about the Headland Park at Barangaroo, showing people enjoying the space, the views, the shade, the clean air and water.

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NSW President's Message - 15 February 2016

Last week was an important week for AILA. The Living Cities Summit was held in Canberra on Wednesday and on Thursday we met with the NSW Minister for Planning (Rob Stokes) and we welcome Fleetwood Urban as AILA NSW new Major Partner. I would also like to talk about the Light Rail project and our position on it.

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NSW President's Message - 2 February 2016


Last year with all the work going on in NSW, especially Sydney, I wanted to write something that would express how I and perhaps others, might feel about the landscape. A statement from AILA NSW and maybe something that might act as a precursor to other comments from the Institute.

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NSW President's Message - 7 December 2015

2015 has been a good year for AILA NSW. The AILA Executive and the Committee Chairs have been putting their time, talent and energy into developing AILA NSW and ensuring it works for the members. Our sponsors have been incredibly supportive with events and the awards.We will build upon this progress in the coming years and below is a link to our draft Strategy for the year for your information and feedback. Remember next year will be the 50th year of the institute so please get involved and remember to get in early with the Festival and any events that are planned...

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NSW President's Message - 23 November 2015

The State President’s job is quite time consuming. It’s hard work at times, but also fulfilling. One of the nicest things I am required to do is present awards and medals. This isn’t a frequent duty, but this week I had the pleasure of handing Graham Fletcher his Fellowship medal.

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NSW President's Message - 9 November 2015

October the 21st 2015 was back to the future day. Everyone must have seen this film, but in a nutshell a zany scientist and his sidekick travel 30 years into the future from 1985. Some of the advancements portrayed in the film have occurred - the television screens have exceeded expectations and the fax machines superseded. However apart from a few improvements to the park in the town square, there was no reference or mention of landscape architecture....

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NSW President's Message - 15 September 2015



Friday night was the NSW Awards night at the Frank Gehry building on the newly opened Goods Line. Congratulations to all the winners of the NSW awards and a big thank you to all those who made a submission. The awards were diverse and representative of NSW, private and public sector projects and landscape architects from all areas of our membership. The Jury did a great job with fantastic nominations. It was a sell-out evening with 200 attendees and there were many comments made that it was a friendly, enjoyable and positive evening for the NSW Chapter. Thanks to all our members and partners for a great night and a great year of work.

We will be exploring the possibilities of a party towards the end of the year to celebrate 2015 and will be in touch soon.

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NSW President's Message - 31 August 2015


The NSW Advocacy and Profile committee had it's first meeting to discuss the NSW approach to advocacy and profile building and establish objectives for the future.  The AILA strategy is to 'build the profile of landscape architects and successfully advocate for well-designed open space and green infrastructure, leading to recognition in government policies, legislation and funding'. AILA NSW will build on this strategy within the NSW context, focusing on the work of landscape architects and ensuring an equitable approach to the benefit of all members.


Next week is a busy one. On Tuesday 8th the Lighting Institute and AILA NSW have teamed up to host a talk by Leni Scwendinger and a panel discussion on Lighting in the Landscape. This is an important growth area for landscape architects.  Then on Friday 11th the Awards Night!  Held at the Gehry Building next to the Goods Line - find out who the 22 winners are...

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NSW President's Message - 17 August 2015



AILA has just published its submission to the federal government on Green Infrastructure. This submission is particularly relevant to NSW with unprecedented infrastructure development and urban growth in greater Sydney ("another million people every 10 years"). Have a look at the linked submission and think about what you and AILA NSW can do to contribute. On the social front, the NSW Awards Presentation night has gone live and you can now buy tickets! The Fit for the Future event is also on next week, Wednesday with a great line up of speakers. Read More.





AILA NSW Heritage Landscape Committee Update - 5 August 2015

Congratulations to the AILA NSW Heritage Landscape Committee who recently applied for funding for the‘AILA Heritage Landscape Conservation Listing Project' and have been successful in receiving a grant from the Minister of Heritage. This pilot Study is intended to be the first step towards establishing an ongoing program by AILA NSW to identify significant cultural landscapes and landscape conservation areas in New South Wales which should be nominated for listing in the NSW State Heritage Register. We are now seeking interested consultants to provide their submission by 14th August. Read More.







NSW President's Message - 4 August 2015


If you haven’t done so already it’s time to renew your membership and also an excellent time to ask around and encourage your colleagues and staff to join AILA. (Maybe as part of your Professional Development Reviews?).  Joining AILA provides many benefits to landscape architects. Read More





NSW President's Message - 21 July 2015

It has been a sad few weeks as we farewell 2 great friends of AILA and of many of our members. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Clive Dodd, pioneer in the play industry and Phillip Walbank, Senior Associate with Moir Landscape Architecture. They made some important contributions to the Landscape Architecture industry and projects during their time and will be fondly remembered. Read More








NSW Vice-President's Message - 6 July 2015

Many of us will be breathing a sigh of relief that the end of financial year has arrived. This magical date can have an impact for both private and public practice landscape architects.  Thanks to all those who got submissions in for the 2015 awards, we received a total of 44 submissions which is excellent. With all the work that has been occurring across the State there will be a lot of competition this year. Read More





NSW Vice-President's Message - 23 June 2015

Gareth is away at the moment, galavanting around the UK so it’s my turn to update you all on the goings on of AILA NSW. Some of you may have heard that GAO are going through a significant restructure giving it a more strategic role in providing direction for Metropolitan Sydney. Read more







NSW President's Message - 25 May 2015

The Bays Precinct Leadership Forum was held on Monday last week. Part of the Forum was the announcement of a ‘Call for Great Ideas’. Large or small. Strategy or implementation. AILA NSW will submit its own ‘Great Ideas’ and we would like these to come from the members.The forum was also an opportunity to reflect on what leadership means. All the projects and initiatives happening in NSW require landscape architects to be leaders. Read more.




NSW President's Message - 27 April 2015

I wasn't able to attend the Barangaroo Point Vision to Reality sneak peak and must be content with waiting until the opening date, but I have had excellent feedback on the day and the value of the event. Clearly, visiting projects and seeing how real practical issues have been dealt with, has a great attraction. Did you also miss out? See the video from the day here. It’s been a sobering few days in Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle area. One of the key issues has been the damage trees have caused to infrastructure and property. Read more





NSW President's Message - 13 April 2015



It feels like a good time after the Easter break to start talking about some important things on the AILA NSW agenda.  The NSW Chapter meeting will take place on the 23rd April and we urge you to come and have a say!  It's also a good time to start thinking about the AILA NSW Awards and what projects to submit. Read more



NSW President's Message - 16 March 2015


2015 is the International Year of Soils. This week is Global Soil Week and December 5 is the annual World Soil Day. Clearly soils are important - for supporting natural vegetation, agriculture, designed landscapes and for the benefits of soil itself. But perhaps soil is taken for granted? Read more.



NSW President's Message - 3 March 2015

According to the 2014-15 Budget, the state infrastructure allocation for the next four years is around $61 billion. This is a large amount of money that we all have a stake in funding. Read more.




NSW President's Message - 16 February 2015

James Grant and the previous executive (Roger Jasprizza & Vikram Mukherjee) and team have done a superb job over the last two years and left AILA NSW in a great position. Read more.




NSW President's Message - 9 December 2014

Change is in the air and this is my last update to you as the President for the NSW Chapter. Thank you to those who came along to the ACM last night and those who cast their votes prior. Read more.




NSW 2014 ACM and Executive Team Read more.




NSW President's Message - 25 November 2014

AILA NSW is mourning the loss of a friend, Dick Clough. We were lucky enough to spend some time with him two weeks ago and the video should be out in the next few weeks. Read more.

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