urbandesign blocks

9th - 11th September 2013

Keynote Presenters 2012

Alexandros Washburn, Director of Urban Design, Department of City Planning, New York City.

washburn urban design conferenceAlexandros E. Washburn, AIA is the Chief Urban Designer of the City of New York, Department of City Planning. An architect who has worked both in the private and public sector, he served as Environment and Public Works Advisor on Capitol Hill to US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then as President of the Pennsylvania Station Redevelopment Corporation, and then as partner of W Architecture and Landscape Architecture LLC, where he designed the award-winning Harlem Piers waterfront park before joining the Bloomberg Administration in his current position.

As the leader of a design studio within the government, he acts as the design eyes for City Planning. He judges success from the point of view of the pedestrian. His design team works in all five boroughs on a range of urban design products from zoning rules and policy to master plans to individual projects. The projects range in scale from plazas to shorelines, from bench designs to tower tops.

The Urban Design division works with the many talented planners, project managers, economists, zoning and other specialists within the agency to meet the specific challenges facing the city. Urban Design's purpose is to meet those challenges and at the same time to improve the quality of public life by improving the quality of public space.

Alex lives with his family in Red Hook, Brooklyn and commutes by bicycle across the Brooklyn Bridge every day. He is currently writing a book with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, called The Nature of Urban Design.


Chris Bailey,  Head of Partnerships & Innovation, Westway Development Trust, London

ChrisBailyChris Bailey is Head of Partnerships and Innovation at Westway Development Trust and from 2009 to 2012 served as Chair of the London Region of the Development Trusts Association (now part of Locality, the national network of social enterprises, development trust, social action centres and community enterprises).

Chris has worked at Westway for eleven years, joining in 2001 to see through the completion and launch of the expanded Westway Sports Centre after a £10m investment and major re-build. Since then his work has centred upon public involvement and on development planning and regeneration, including running a number of major environmental improvement schemes.

He is currently working on areas including public involvement, social enterprise and planning for a round of future property redevelopment [in fact a master-planning exercise is undergoing a formal local government-driven public consultation at present].  In addition he is running a number of temporary use projects on sites where redevelopment has been delayed by economic conditions (these include an art gallery and a pop-up cinema). His background prior to his work at Westway was in communications, strategy and public consultation.

His career started with a small transport engineering company in the North East of England but in the subsequent twenty plus years he has worked in the public, private and not for profit sectors. This has included roles in publishing, citizens advice, international telecoms, education, and even a period working in local government improvement and development for a national UK government agency.

However, community-based regeneration and enterprise have long been his interests. Chris's approach is that for localism to be meaningful it has to involve enterprise, ownership and sustainability and these are all best delivered through real community involvement. In development terms this is about communities getting involved and taking responsibility, in order to get the best out of change and to play an active part in it.

He has also been a tutor on the strategy module of management courses at the University of Westminster and presented seminars to civil servants on social and community enterprise and on regeneration for the UK government Department of Business, Skills and Innovation, to members of the French government and their civil service teams and to local government study teams from Japan, South Korea and the Netherlands.

Chris studied as an undergraduate at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and as a postgraduate at Durham University Business School and the University of Westminster.


John Suckling, Chairman, ReStart, Christchurch, New Zealand

john suckling urban design conferenceJohn has worked in Wellington as an economist at the Department of Trade and Industry, NZ Institute of Economic Research and Department of Social Welfare. He returned to Christchurch from Wellington in 1977 to take over, from his father, Sucklings Shoe Store. The store had been trading in the CBD for 76 years at the time of the February earthquake. He represented footwear retailers during the deregulation of the industry. He was president of the Canterbury Retailers Association and sat on the Retailers Board. He is currently on the Retail Institute Board.

As Chairman of Re:START the Heart Trust, he will speak about the creation of the container based retail precinct in the central city Cashel Mall following the February 2011 earthquake which has been responsible for levelling the major part of downtown Christchurch.


Dorte Ekelund. Executive Director, Major Cities Unit, Federal Department of Infrastructure and Transport.

Dorte  has extensive experience in urban and regional planning across all spheres of government in Australia.

Dorte is experienced in urban development coordination, infrastructure planning, statutory and strategic planning, planning system reform and governance reform. In her current role, she is responsible for considering the challenges facing Australian cities, and how cities can contribute to improved outcomes for communities and the environment. Our Cities, Our Future - A national urban policy for a productive, sustainable and liveable future, was produced by the Major Cities Unit and launched in May 2011. It provides a long-term blueprint for making the nation's 18 capital and major regional cities even more productive, sustainable and liveable.

The challenge of an adequate supply of appropriate and affordable housing is a core theme in the National Urban Policy, and annual State of Australian Cities reporting.

Dorte has a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning (Class 1 Honours) and a Masters of Business Administration.


Andrew Tongue, Secretary, Department of Planning and Community Development, Victorian Government

AndrewTongueAndrew has had a long and distinguished career in the Commonwealth Public Service before commencing as Secretary of the Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development in September 2011.

His previous public sector roles included Deputy Secretary for the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs responsible for Australian Government social housing programs, remote indigenous housing, remote service delivery, community employment programs and indigenous economic development.

Andrew joined FaHCSIA in 2009 from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government where he was the Deputy Secretary responsible for national aviation policy and regulation, transport security and transport safety investigation. During his stint in the department, Andrew worked on local government development, regional service delivery and development issues and support to small communities.

In his career Andrew has worked in a number of Australian Government departments dealing with issues such as immigration, housing, health and ageing, and non-metropolitan service delivery.

In recognition of his extensive service to public administration in a number of areas, Andrew received a Public Service Medal in 2011. Andrew has a Masters Degree in Public Policy from the Australian National University.


Marcus Westbury, founder Renew Australia

marcusMarcus is a broadcaster, writer, media maker and festival director who has been responsible for some of Australia's more innovative, unconventional and successful cultural projects and events. He has also worked across a range of media as a writer, producer, director and presenter covering fields as diverse as culture, art, media, urban planning, sport and politics.

In 2008 Marcus founded Renew Newcastle with his own funds and energy. It's a low budget, not for profit, DIY urban renewal scheme that has brokered access to more than 30 empty buildings for creative enterprises, artists and cultural projects in his home town of Newcastle, NSW.

Renew Newcastle is unique scheme that has attracted interest from around the world. It has been described as "a clever partial solution" (Time.com), 'a smart, inspired way to deal with unused spaces that might otherwise be left to ruin" (Inside Out), "the transformation of the city centre" (The Newcastle Herald), "an incredible success... both to assist the business community in the area while simultaneously [giving] a boost to local artists and designers" (ABC TV), "overwhelmingly positive, with the CBD finally starting to re-emerge" (Jetstar in-flight magazine), "There is genius in this... wow!"(wired.com) and "reviving the city" (Daily Telegraph).

In 2007 and 2008 Marcus was the writer and presenter of Not Quite Art on ABC1. Over two three part series Not Quite Art was variously been described as "the kick up the arse Australia's TV arts needed" (Arts Hub), "the freshest, most illuminating, thoughtful and funny locally made arts program in years" (The Age), "a delightful, witty and above all intelligent journey" (Stilgherian), "informative, provocative and mind-blowing. Everything the ABC should be proud to be about" (Margaret Pomeranz) and proof that "coverage of the arts can be arresting, provocative and relevant" (The Age). The series was awarded the "Best Arts Show of the Year" in 2008 and short listed as of the best documentaries of 2009 by The Sydney Morning Herald. Marcus has also appeared as panelist on ABC TV programs including QandA, Vulture, Critical Mass and Recovery.


Ms Caroline Stalker,  Director Architectus, Brisbane, QLD.

Caroline StalkerAn architect with a passion for urban design, Caroline's professional background encompasses major project work throughout Queensland and in the UK over more than 20 years. Her experience ranges from key public space design and public buildings through to the master planning of centres, public institutions, and environmentally sustainable new communities. Caroline is a member of the Qld Board for Urban Places, which advises State Government on projects of statewide significance.


Professor Rob Adams, Director City Design, City of Melbourne

robadamsProfessor Rob Adams' decades of seminal work as an architect and urban designer, and his role in revitalising the face of Melbourne, were recognised in 2007 with an Order of Australia (AM) for services to urban design, town planning and architecture.

Rob received the Prime Minister's Environmentalist of the Year for his innovative urban sustainability work at the 2008 Banksia Awards.

As Director City Design at the City of Melbourne, he continues to champion the arts and environmental sustainability as part of the city's development platform into the 21st century.


Giovanni Cirillo,  Executive Director of Urban Renewal and Major Sites at the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure.

cirilloHe was previously the Director of City Planning and Regulatory Services at the City of Sydney. Since the mid 1990s Giovanni was an author of the central Sydney planning controls that remain in place today.

He has over 20 years experience in Planning in NSW, mostly in local government and in promoting urban regeneration. Some of his most recent projects include:

* Developing a pipeline of strategic Urban Activation Precincts across Sydney and NSW
* Various town centre urban renewal projects in Sydney and regional NSW
* The 10 year review of NSW's Residential Flat Design Code.

He is a graduate of the University of New England both in Urban and Regional Planning and in Economics.

Giovanni obtained his Masters degree at the University of Sydney and has recently been conferred as an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney.

Giovanni now also represents the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure on the Boards of the NSW Heritage Council, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and the Sydney Metropolitan Development Authority.

Giovanni holds a number of awards and commendations from the Planning Institute of Australia for his work in developing the planning controls in the City of Sydney over many years.


Justine Clark Architectural Writer, Editor, Critic and Curator

justine clarkJustine Clark is an architectural editor, writer, researcher and critic. She is also the editor of the new website Parlour: women, equity, architecture (www.archiparlour.org),

Justine was the editor of Architecture Australia, the national magazine of the Australian Institute of Architects from 2003 to early 2011. This work was recognized with a 2011 National Bates Smart Award for Architecture in the Media (an award she also won in 2009 for a special issue on Indigenous Housing).

She is currently involved in the Australian Resarch Council-funded project Equity and Diversity in the Australian Architecture Profession: Women, Work, and Leadership, led by Dr Naomi Stead, and is an honorary senior fellow at the University of Melbourne.

Justine is regularly invited to speak on architectural matters and to serve on juries for prizes and competitions, both nationally and internationally. Justine has designed and curated architectural exhibitions and has published various books and book chapters. She has a BArch (hons) from the University of Auckland and has a MArch (dist) by research thesis from Victoria University of Wellington.