A new national seminar series has begun on how we can better design public spaces to encourage community engagement and inclusion.

University of South Australia lecturer and specialist in public architecture Dr Angelique Edmonds (pictured right) is presenting a national seminar series in partnership with the Australian Institute of Architects.

The series commenced in Adelaide on July 17 and will continue across 10 locations including all capital cities and key regional centres during July and August.

Edmonds says the talks will offer a real opportunity for people to broaden their understanding of how people respond to their urban and built environments and reflect upon the way design impacts upon people’s everyday lives.

“When we talk about the importance of social sustainability in public spaces, we are, through design, aiming to ensure diverse groups of people feel welcome in a place and can continue to enjoy social connection,” she said.

“The way we build and organise our cities can help or hinder social connection. This ‘way’ of building cities refers not only to the formal structure of the city but also to the manner or systems through which we arrive at that structure. People are increasingly seeking opportunities to participate in decisions about the built environment.

“Globally there is increasing public policy interest in the performance of public places because wellbeing and health, social connection, education, and sense of community are all linked to how we live in our cities – how easily we can access public facilities, take a walk in a park, meet our friends at street fairs or festivals, take our children to museums and galleries, or attend public lectures.

“We need to understand not only the importance of the outcomes of design but also the value of engaging public involvement in the design process and ensuring funding is allocated to facilitate participatory processes of design in appropriate ways from consultation, right through to models of co-creation.” design
Dr Edmonds teaches in both Architecture and Sustainable Design at UniSA supervising Masters and PhD research.

She is also Creative Director of the School for Creating Change, a Design Review panellist with the Office for Design and Architecture South Australia (ODASA), and a member of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) National Visiting Panel.

She has previously been a member of the National Sustainability Committee for AIA, Chair of the SA Sustainability committee and SA Chapter Councillor. She also served on the National steering group for Australia’s National Development Index (ANDI), an Australian wellbeing Index.

“What I hope people will get out of the series is to understand more about the characteristics of socially inclusive design and its importance in building social connection and effective public outcomes,” she said.

Dr Edmonds will deliver her Adelaide talk at the SA Chapter of the AIA 100 Flinders Street from 12 noon.

The full timetable and attendance and streaming price information for the national series is available here.