Planning experts and Aboriginal Communities across the State are being encouraged to help shape the future of planning design, with the release of a discussion paper by the NSW government called Designing with Country.
NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Secretary, Jim Betts says the Designing with Country Discussion Paper provides an opportunity to share ideas on how to better incorporate Aboriginal cultural elements into future planning decisions.
“The land we live on, build on and raise families on is Aboriginal land, cared for over thousands of years by our First Peoples,” says Betts.
“Modern Australia can learn much from this connection and we have an opportunity to incorporate Aboriginal knowledge of Country into our planning and design systems.
“We are inviting Aboriginal community members, recognised cultural knowledge holders, design and planning industry experts to provide feedback and guidance to address the challenge of how we can ‘design with Country’.”
Designing with Country poses a series of questions, challenges and cases studies to guide discussion and seek input from the community to better incorporate Aboriginal heritage and design into the planning system.
The Designing with Country Discussion Paper is the first step in the Connecting with Country program and will be used to develop a set of cultural principles and a framework to guide the development of infrastructure projects in the future.
Connecting with Country is aimed at ensuring Aboriginal heritage and culture are embraced and protected as a central part of the planning, construction and delivery of projects.
Connecting with Country is being led by Dillon Kombumerri (who is a proud Yugembir Goori man), principal architect at the NSW government architect office, with input from Aboriginal elders and support from the NSW Government Architect, Abbie Galvin.
“In acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land and their unique cultural relationships to place, we’re embracing the idea that ‘if we care for Country – it will care for us’. Connecting with Country is the natural evolution of that concept,” says Galvin.