Over the past few years, we've been listening to our community about what works within our planning system and where the challenges are. We've involved community in the work on a number of key planning policies and projects including the drafting of the Planning Strategy 2018, Housing Choices work and Canberra's Climate Change strategy.

What we've heard has formed the basis of our gap analysis for the planning system and highlighted the need for a flexible planning system which enables the sustainable growth of the city without compromising its valued character.

With the Planning Review project underway, we've also undertaken focused engagement throughout 2019 and 2020 which has included:

  • Workshops in May 2019 with representatives from industry, peak groups and community groups to provide feedback on the draft scope and inform the engagement process.
  • Liaison with work on the Canberra Wellbeing Indicators to consider how wellbeing integrates with our planning system.
  • Manuka Stakeholder Panel on 29 July and associated Kingston Drop-in session.
  • Stakeholder roundtable and workshop on an Entertainment Action Plan to inform policy on Entertainment areas in Canberra.
  • YourSay Community Panel Places & Spaces survey which received just under 1000 respondents across Canberra from all districts.
  • Liaison with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to identify involvement in the review.
  • Liaison with ACTCOSS on engagement opportunities that focus on social inclusion.
  • Places and Spaces focus groups in February 2020 to understand what you value within your local area.

Explore the sections below to find out more about what we heard.

Six small group workshops were held with Canberra community members on February 15 and 16, 2020. The workshops brought together people across each district of Canberra to capture the character of their area including:

  • Belconnen
  • Inner North and Inner South Canberra
  • Woden
  • Tuggeranong
  • Gungahlin
  • Weston Creek and Molonglo Valley
  • At each of the workshops, participants were invited to consider the character of their area. This included looking at what they liked, what they wanted to enhance, what they wanted to change and how they envisioned the character of their area evolving over time.

    Workshops were structured around a single district, however a number of themes emerged across multiple areas in Canberra. These included:

  • Sustainability and climate resilience
  • Access to nature, green space and parks
  • Liveable spaces and areas
  • Diverse communities and active populations
  • Potential and opportunities into the future
  • Acceptance of future growth in population and housing
  • Need to identify and plan for community amenities.
  • What makes your local area unique? This is one of the questions we recently asked 1000 Canberrans through the Places and Spaces survey, and one of the questions that we are exploring as part of the Planning Review project work.

    In October 2019, we invited members of the YourSay Community Panel to share with us the unique features of their local areas and what they liked and disliked about the buildings and streetscapes around them. We heard that there are some features that were noted as unique to areas but apply across all of Canberra, such as the variety and amount of open green spaces. However, some characteristics did come through as more distinct to specific districts.

    Download the survey report.

    To better understand locals’ values, priorities and aspirations about their district’s future, we had focused consultations with the Inner South community in Manuka and Kingston, as test of delving into this level of detail.

    During these consultations, community members highlighted they consider that stories of Canberra’s history as the nation’s capital present through the district’s buildings, streetscapes, institutions, people, urban hubs and natural spaces. As such, participants emphasised that they see this as unique heritage and character of the Inner South and they consider it important to protect the diversity and balance between historic and contemporary buildings.

    While participants noted that shared values exist across Canberra, they also identified that the city’s strengths also lie within the unique aspects of its districts.

    You can read the consultation report here or find out more about this engagement here.

    The ACT Government is currently undertaking work on a series of Wellbeing Indicators to inform government policy into the future. The Indicators will consider what we value as a community and want to prioritise when it comes to our health, living standards, environment and communities.

    Our places and spaces, and the way that we plan and deliver them for Canberra’s communities, is also linked to our wellbeing.

    In a series of workshops run in May 2019, we heard from stakeholders that wellbeing is important to our planning and should be considered as we review the planning system. To explore what wellbeing means to Canberrans within a planning context, we will be drawing on the Wellbeing Indicators work to inform our planning review conversations. What this means is that we will be asking you about wellbeing once, rather than having the same conversations over again with community.

    Read more about the wellbeing indicators here.

    Representatives from community councils, peak bodies and planning industry joined EPSDD team members in May to co-design the engagement for the review. Participants provided input on the draft scope of the review, refined the scope to focus on values, principles and mechanisms associated with planning and identified key questions to drive further engagement activities.

    Key takeaways from the workshops included:

    • Prioritising key values including climate resilience, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural perspectives, natural landscapes and heritage throughout Canberra
    • Embedding accessibility and inclusivity throughout the review process
    • Building transparency, clarity and confidence into the planning framework
    • Asking questions that identify who cares about the framework review, and engaging those audiences

    You can read the full report of the workshop outcomes and findings here. Read more about these workshops here.