NSW News & Media

News from the NSW Chapter Manager - 12 March 2019


With the 2019 Awards season now upon us, AILA NSW is looking forward to seeing what we know will be a fantastic array of projects presented. With so many incredible entries behind us in 2018, this year is sure to bring us only more examples of new and exciting landscape architecture.

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News from the NSW Secretary - 26 February 2019


Protesting for open space is like protesting for fresh air. We should never have to! This past weekend, I attended a local rally protesting the ‘over’ development of a metro station site. The community accepts that development and growth are necessary, but they ask: how to better accommodate this growth other than simply increasing building height, the Sydney default?


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News from the NSW Vice President - 12 February 2019

Last Wednesday morning the AILA Exec. met for the first time this year to plan ahead for the year’s events and initiatives, and to ensure that our position as key advocates of open space, greening, urban design issues and projects, and AILA member representation continues.

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News from the NSW President - 30 January 2019

Welcome to 2019 and Happy New Year from the NSW Executive. Sadly, the break is by now a vague memory, but what does remain memorable were its climatic extremes. The intense heat and tropical storms contrasted somehow more absurdly than usual with the ‘snow in a can’ celebrations of the season. Under such severe heat peaks, even a dyed in the wool climate change denier might find their molten mind wandering towards the benefits of green infrastructure.

Just as the joys of one season pass, another is upon us, and you would likely be aware we are now in the throes of state election season. This provides an opportunity for AILA to advocate for green infrastructure funding commitments, and to that end, AILA’s Advocacy Group has assembled a questionnaire for major political parties to identify their commitments to the range of open space and green infrastructure agendas which have emerged in NSW.

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News from the NSW Chapter Manager - 18 December 2018

As the year draws to a close, on behalf of AILA I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our NSW Partners below for their contribution to the profession:
Principal PartnerAndreasens Green
Major PartnersCo-Ordinated Landscapes, Fleetwood Urban & Gosford Quarries
Supporting PartnersSESL Australia and The Hills Bark Blower

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News from the NSW President - 6 December 2018

Last week we had a fantastic day at the Ochre Grid ‘Designing with Country’ Forum. This forum was instigated by AILA NSW as a follow on from last years ‘Connecting to Country’ event. The credit for the event goes entirely to the Government Architects Office NSW who took the suggestion on and made the event happen. AILA NSW combined this event with the launch of the ‘Reflect’ stage of our Reconciliation Action Plan. AILA is showing great leadership in its advancement of the RAP and the attention to detail shown in the process so far. 

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News from the NSW President - 20 November 2018

Last Friday, AILA NSW headed to Newcastle for the Cool Street Workshop. With 60 people in attendance there was a good mix of members and non-members discussing a range of initiatives important to both urban and regional practitioners. This was followed by the tradition of AILA Regional Christmas drinks at the Merewether Surfhouse. Thanks to Darren Mason and the team at Andreasens Green for sponsoring this great event.

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News from the NSW Vice President - 6 November 2018

The countdown to the end of the year appears to be on with a feeling of urgency surrounding projects coming to their peak to meet those deadlines, meetings and consultations wrapping up, last workshops and conferences, and best of all - social events lining up.

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News from the NSW President - 23 October 2018

The Executive continues to review and comment on a number of policies: Mark Tyrrell and Margot Streater participated in the leadership forum held on the Gold Coast the day before the recent AILA Festival; In NSW, the launch of the Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan will be combined with the Sydney Ochre Grid event on 29 November; comments on the CPD Framework are due end of this month and discussions on the Strategic Plan 2018-2022 and High School Engagement continue.

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News from the NSW President - 9 October 2018

The NSW Executive Committee and the Advocacy Working Group are looking to undertake a proactive rather than reactive advocacy strategy. To this end, the group will be meeting with Rod Simpson, Environment Commissioner at our next meeting. The group recently met with Fiona Morrison, Commissioner Open Space and Parklands (OSAP), to define a deeper understanding of the key priority focus areas for the OSAP team since its inception in October last year.

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News from the NSW President - 25 September 2018

The NSW Executive welcomes our new National Board and looks forward to creatively and constructively working together to further support, promote and embed the values of landscape architectural practice into public life. Congratulations to each of you and thank you for devoting your time and knowledge. We look forward to getting to know you.

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News from the NSW President - 13 September 2018

Things are looking busy for AILA as we leave winter behind and head towards the end of the year. I’m looking forward to catching up with you all at many of the upcoming AILA CPD Events and at the Gold Coast Conference now only 4 weeks away.

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News from the NSW President - 30 August 2018

Following the release of the AILA Strategic Plan 2018-2022, over the coming months the NSW Executive Committee will be developing the 2019 strategy and action plan for the NSW Chapter. Thank you to all those who have volunteered their time over the last 12 months participating in many different ways to advance the profession.


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News from the NSW Vice-President - 14 August 2018

AILA values the generosity of it’s Corporate Sponsors and last Tuesday 31st July over 30 AILA members were able to directly benefit from a visit to the Gosford Quarry sites at Mt White Central Coast, north of Sydney. Hosted by Gosford Quarries, the free half-day visit included bus travel from Central Station, viewing quarry extraction operations first-hand, a drive-through a second quarry site, then back to the head office to witness the many differing sawing operations before lunch.

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News from the NSW President - 31 July 2018

The launch of the Reconciliation Action Plan is a great achievement for the AILA which sets a new position and direction for the Institute. The ‘Connection to Country’ Committee should be congratulated on guiding this initiative. As the Plan notes ‘this is the beginning of a national journey to encourage all members of our profession to better understand and respect the intrinsic values of country and spirituality.’ It’s a great privilege to be involved with AILA and practicing at a time when this journey is commencing.

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News from the NSW Vice President - 17 July 2018

The 2018 AILA NSW Awards have now come and gone, congratulations to those who were recognised for the outstanding examples of landscape architecture across a diverse range of projects. The current two-step process which includes the preview evening, this year held at The Coal Loader Waverton, is a fantastic way to review all entries beforehand and include and celebrate with those who are interested in the projects but may not be in a position to have entered.

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News from the NSW President - 3 July 2018

The state awards event is the pinnacle of the AILA NSW events calendar. This week we will gather again to reflect on the work of the profession and announce the winners of the 2018 NSW Landscape Architecture Awards.The event will be held once more at the Ivy Ballroom and this year we are particularly fortunate to have Tim Horton of ‘Australia by Design’ as our master of ceremonies for the evening.

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News from the NSW Secretary - 19 June 2018

Recently, a number of members approached me concerned by the lack of NSW events. With a new executive team, a new state a manager and a new CEO, all appointed around the same time, some settling in time is only natural. Notwithstanding, for those who attended the NSW AILA 2018 Awards Exhibition at the Coal Loader site, Waverton, would appreciate what a wonderful evening it was.

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News from the NSW Treasurer - 5 June 2018

The recent AILA Fresh Meet was another fantastic and welcomed event in the AILA calendar, with over 40 AILA Fresh members mixing it up with a number of senior professionals. It was great to see that AILA’s version of speed dating still packs a punch. It was no doubt an event that everyone took something away from, regardless of what side of the table that they sat on.

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News from the NSW Vice-President - 21 May 2018

I’ve heard it said recently that it is a great time to be a landscape architect right now – if nothing elseit is a busy one, and our AILA Jobs pages are a testament to the demand and opportunities forquality skilled landscape architects. My weekend reading seems to be less personal interest andmore preparation for reviewing draft policy documents and studies that outlay the future for ourcities, and over time, the workpath for our profession.

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News from the NSW Executive - 8 May 2018

The Landscape Australia conference took place at UTS over the weekend, with a focus on the ‘Asian Century’ and what it may mean for landscape architecture in our part of the world. It was a thought provoking day, my personal favourite was Chang Huai-yan from Salad Dressing, Singapore. His philosophical meandering through the topics of his tightly structured talk perfectly fit the subject matter as he explored the tension between wild nature and human control. He delved into our relationship to place and in his case, the tropics. His work explored making room for nature and meditated on the meaning of human interaction with plants and their characteristics.

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News from the NSW Executive - 24 April 2018

YOUI insurance offers forty reasons, or ways to save on insurance:Reason #11: No tall trees (over 2 storeys) within 20 metres of home buildings”.My first reaction toReason 11was to brace for further reduction in Sydney’s tree canopy and the sound of urban lumberjacks and their chainsaws. We witnessed a similar onslaught with the NSW Rural Fire Service 10/50 rule - provided you are within a 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area, you do not need approval to remove canopy trees within 10m of a home.

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News from the NSW Chapter - 11 April 2018

It’s time to pause for thought and celebrate our city in a wonderful landscape. Last week, stakeholders were briefed on a vision for “A Metropolis of Three Cities”, the Greater Sydney Region Plan designed for Sydney’s growth, connecting people and enhancing the region’s status as one of the most liveable global cities, with linkages to our regional hubs of Greater Newcastle and Wollongong.

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News from the NSW Executive - 27 March 2018

Across different levels of government the dealings I’ve had with different professions charged with delivery of the infrastructure for growth, show there is a real appetite for positive change, and quality outcomes delivered through good design. An example of this is the newly created Office of Open Space and Parklands, and their first project delivering on the universal design guidelines for future playspaces.

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News from the NSW Executive - 13 March 2018

We are living in fast paced times. As populations grow, and original infrastructure ages, business as usual models of city building are buckling under pressure from all sides. Across the state, questions are surfacing about the best way to prepare our urban environments for an uncharted future. The answer, as you all know, is landscape architecture both as a protector of the natural environment and as a projector for new ways of living. The opportunities are vast and at all scales. They lie in our potential to recast our work more accurately, not as a ‘nice to have’ but as essential city infrastructure to guide and provide for large scale change.

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News from the NSW Executive - 27 February 2018

AILA National’s President, Linda Corkery’s update in the last newsletter (more like a tome, but a very important one) highlighted the value AILA brings to the national debate. To be represented at the national Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Citiesis timely, especially here in NSW. I was also interested in the National Advocacy Pillars: Healthy Communities, Green Infrastructure and Liveable Cities. I think this offers an excellent foundation for members, committees etc when framing responses, comments and so on. My understanding is the pillars are in development so, as Linda asked, what do you think?

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News from the NSW Executive - 13 February 2018

As the new year starts to gather pace we are starting to get back into the working groove. I thought it would be good to have a little recap on what’s confirmed in the AILA NSW calendar for the next few months.

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News from the NSW Executive - 24 January 2018

Welcome to 2018 and for many of you – back to work with the benefit of a rewarding break behind you, and hopefully a line-up of interesting and exciting projects ahead. I hope many of you were able to get out and enjoy the diverse and spectacular landscapes that Australia has to offer. For me – the country towns of western NSW, north and western Victoria beckoned and I enjoyed not only a complexity of rural and natural landscapes but also micro-climates ranging from a still tinder dry 42degrees at Edward River via Deniliquin through to ‘I haven’t got anything warm left to put on’ at Forrest in the Otway Ranges. While the coast is the destination over summer for many of us the rural inland offers rich rewards as well.

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News from the NSW President- 18 December 2017

The AILA NSW end of year celebration was a good chance to catch up with friends and colleagues and reflect on what has by all accounts been a huge year for landscape architects practicing in NSW. It was a chance to say thank you and farewell to both Cath Scheen and Carly Wood, who have managed the NSW business of all things AILA with passion and dedication. Cath and Carly have left AILA NSW in a good position for growth in membership and with a solid base of sponsorship. We warmly welcome Margot to the team and look forward to building a new momentum next year.


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News from the NSW Executive - 4 December 2017

I recently had a flick through the 2017 AILA Salary Survey Report, which prompted me to have a look at a few other salary surveys in closely aligned professions. One review of an industry survey, that I thought was particularly relevant was Dr Gill Mathewson’s review of the Australian Consulting Architects (ACA) 2017 National Salary Survey.

In the review of the 2017 National Salary Survey, Dr Gill Mathewson identified the continuing trend of a gender pay gap and some practices persisting in paying under Award minimums, both these issues are relevant and exist within our profession.

The recent release of the AILA Salary Survey Report, generated a much needed conversation regarding gender inequity within the profession, with Cassandra Chilton’s recent contribution to Landscape Australia clearly identifying the current gender inequity.

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News from the NSW Executive - 21 November 2017

Landscape Architects internationally and locally have a strong history of foreseeing the need and planning for new open space as populations grow: Ebenezer Howard and the Garden City, and Fredrick Law Olmsted and Central Park, NY spring to mind. At home, the County of Cumberland Planning Scheme’s ‘Green Belt’, the Sydney Harbour Trust’s repurposing of federal defence lands for open space, Western Sydney Parklands and more recently Millennium Parklands display this visioning. Even the NSWBLF (Mundy, Owens and Pringle) in the early 1970s realised the importance of socially equitable development and open space, and ushered in the ‘Green Ban’.

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News from the NSW Executive - 6 November 2017

This week we received the news that our very capable AILA NSW Chapter Manager and NSW Event Manager, Catherine Scheen and Carly Wood will be leaving us for a new role where they will continue their job-share partnership. We wish them all the very best.

In saying goodbye, it is worthwhile to acknowledge the outcomes and achievements that have been realised since they joined AILA over four years ago.

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News from the NSW President - 23 October 2017

The 2017 Festival of Landscape Architecture ‘The 3rd City’ has drawn to a close. As it closes, it is timely to reflect on how it started. As a creative directorate, we took some time arriving on the 3rd City theme, finally landing on it when we realised that we needed a flexibility in our theme that was at once local and global, connected to past and future and offering a strong bridge between theory and practice at a full range of scales.

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News from the NSW Executive - 3 October 2017

Last Monday night the AILA NSW advocacy committee we met to discuss many of the issues that require further advocacy action from AILA such as the M4-M5 Link, Parramatta Light Rail, Draft Crown Land regulations, the draft biodiversity conservation regulation and many more. Whilst these are significant issues that need to our due consideration and input as a profession, I was personally impacted by another chance meeting later that week.

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News from the NSW Executive - 18 September 2017

Crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge by train it has become my habit to pause, and take in the spectacular, elevated view of Sydney’s magnificent harbour; the ancient ria revealing itself slowly like a dance of the seven veils, drawing the eye to the persistent low bank of ‘blue clouds’ resting on the horizon of the Cumberland plains. What could possibly ruin this view?

Recently, on an early morning train ride it happened. Out of the valley that is Parramatta River a great golden globe appeared; was the sun rising from the west; had Barajiklian turned the state around, literally; was this nature's revenge for the anthropocentric era described by Richard Weller just 12 months ago? 

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News from the NSW Executive - 4 September 2017

The last day of winter was a perfect sunny day for exploring the latest parkland projects at the Western Sydney Parklands. Hosted by AILA and LGLDF (Local Government Landscape Design Forum), the team from the WSPT lead by Sarah Christie and Josh French lead us through three significant sites that have proved to be well-loved by both western-Sydney families and also those drawn from across Sydney.

The first stop was Bungaribee Park –a newly constructed playground set in broad-scale setting which encourages kids to roam and run between play areas. The design acknowledges the scale and ‘big sky’ horizon of the park setting, and you are impressed with the sense that the park extends forever and has unlimited potential.

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NSW Message - 21 August 2017

The Better Placed launch on Friday was appropriately held in the new Bankstown library. It's a lovely airy public building in a park in the centre of town with beautiful high traditional book shelves, vast windows and natural dappled light, grainy timber flooring recycled from the old Bankstown dance hall on the site and a great green wall throughout the whole space used to circulate oxygenated air to the library users - keeping them focused! Better Placed is the NSW Government's new overarching design policy. Produced by the Government Architect NSW and assisted by many design friends including AILA NSW, it is refreshingly straightforward and normal in its language and our 23rd Government Architect (and team) is to be congratulated.


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NSW President's Message - 10 July 2017

The largest ever AILA NSW Awards program is almost complete. It has been a fantastic process in 2017 with a diverse and experienced jury of practitioners and academics deliberating at length over a competitive field. Last week’s exhibition of entries was extremely popular with over 200 guests cramming in to review many exceptional entries proudly showcasing the work of our NSW group. The culmination of this process is the Awards night on the 27 July at the Ivy, and once again it looks to be a great night. There will be a quick ACM briefing prior to starting the proceedings for the Awards program so if you are interested, please arrive early to hear an update from Josh French. 


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Reflecting on Connecting to Country - 26 June 2017

The connecting to country forum hosted by AILA on Friday 16 June 2017, will remain for me, a pivotal day in my ongoing education as a landscape architect. The event occurred at an auspicious time, as conversations within our company had recently begun about how we can practice in a more culturally aware manner and have a deeper understanding of the land that we shape through our work. 

The Utzon room in the Opera House was a powerful setting for the forum, with the tactility of the interior materials contrasting to the view of the harbour, and was soon filled with a sense of hopeful expectation from the audience – we sensed we were about to be part of something memorable.

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NSW President's Message - 14 June 2017

Well this is it. My last newsletter. Number 64 (I think). A little like John Clark at the end of ‘The Games’ my presidency will end with me flying out of Sydney. I’m off on leave on 24 June at 5.15pm. I think at that point Mark Tyrrell, Emily Forrest, Lee Andrews and Adrian Collins will technically take over, so all questions to the new executive from 5.15pm onwards on that day...

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NSW President's Message - 29 May 2017

I was at a round table meeting last week arranged by the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) at which around 20 of us from various organisations discussed the need for broader business cases for major infrastructure projects. It was an excellent free ranging discussion questioning the narrow focus of the current system and the pros and cons of including more urban design factors into measuring the economic value of projects.

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NSW President's Message - 15 May 2017

After a beautiful autumnal weekend in the Blue Mountains, I thought I would indulge myself, with only three newsletters to go, to a small note of respect to all my landscape architect colleagues and friends who have worked on the Great Western Highway upgrade in the Blue Mountains. This has been a major project built over several decades, primarily to save lives on the highway. Landscape architects have been prominent. As of June last year the project (from Lapstone Hill to Katoomba) was complete and driving on it this weekend you can see the significant effect those designers have had...

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NSW President's Message - 1 May 2017

I'm very pleased to let you know the next AILA NSW Executive team. From July, Mark Tyrrell will be President, Emily Forrest will be Vice President, Lee Andrews will be Secretary and Adrian Collins will be Treasurer. It's a great team representing the public and private sector and a wide range of experience and I'm really pleased that Mark, Emily, Lee and Adrian have stepped up to take on the roles and lead the State chapter. Josh Julie and I will continue to have a role and be available but we wish the new team all the best. However, I still have a few newsletters to go and our last event will be Connecting to Country.

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NSW President's Message - 18 April 2017

Easter weekend. A much needed break. With public holidays, architect days and flex days (if you have them!) the weekend was able to be extended to a long break with only a few leave days used. Or if you're self-employed, hopefully you factored in some down-time into your charge out rates. Where I live it was particularly restful weatherwise, the lower sun at this time of year and the rain soaked vegetation from the previous month gave a golden glow to the healthy green of the landscape. Whatever your Easter spiritual persuasion, hopefully it was a moment to reflect and gain some perspective.


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NSW President's Message - 3 April 2017

Friday was the deadline for the District Plan review comments and with thanks to the review team of Noel Corkery, Julie Lee, Adam Fowler, Joshua French and Suellen Fitzgerald as well as comments sent in from David Martin, Kurt Henkel, Annabel Murray, Martin O’Dea and Crosbie Lorimer, AILA NSW made a good submission.

We have had a positive role in the development of the plans, in particularly through the Parkland, River and Harbour City ideas but also through our push for green infrastructure and involvement in the initiation and development of the Green Grid. I am sure the Greater Sydney Commission will get a plethora of comments but I think ours will be heard and used constructively.

My last newsletter reflecting on the past and speculating on the future of landscape architecture fits in well with the District Plans and long term nature of the changes afoot in Sydney and NSW.

Julie Lee, Director of TRACT Sydney, AILA NSW Secretary and AILA Fellow has followed up on this with a thoughtful piece on what the world might hold for us over the next 20 years...


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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