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Creativity the key to urban design

Cite Magazine

For Michael Haynes, urban and regional planning is more than just building a city. It is a crossway between creativity, creation and culture.

His belief in bringing determination, good design and the right attitude to urban planning, is binding communities together, encouraging social change and reinvigorating a city.

“Urban and regional planning has a great balance between government policy, technical prowess, and lots of public interaction,” Haynes says. “It is such a thrill to talk to people, discover their problems, and imagine simple, elegant and cost effective initiatives.”

Graduating with honours from Curtin’s Bachelor in Urban and Regional Planning in 2013, Haynes is passionate about using his knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the whole community. He is the co-founder of the Perth Urbanist, a think tank that promotes Perth’s cultural and social landscapes, and the director of the Bicycle Transport Alliance, a leading cycling advocacy organisation in WA, which is in the process of transitioning from a not-for-profit organisation into a social enterprise. Haynes also co-founded Future Common, a creative firm that reactivates public spaces for the shared enjoyment of everybody.

“We wanted to bring a different approach to urban planning,” Haynes explains, “We wanted to work from a place of authenticity, to not forsake my values and to feel a sense of pride in every decision and action I make.”

Based in Fremantle, Future Commons has organised a three-day street festival in Fremantle’s historic High Street as part of the Fremantle Street Art Festival, shared stories and roasted marshmallows around The Fire Place for the Fremantle Winter Garden, and guided origami tutorials for the City of Perth’s 100 Years of ANZAC.

Closer to Curtin, Future Common also brought BLOOM, an interactive ‘urban toy’ of bright pink interlocking pieces, to Curtin during the semester two orientation week.

A BLOOM installation on the Curtin Bentley Campus brought to Curtin by Future Commons.

“We [Future Commons] are a subset of the urban planning industry, so pretty much everything we do in some way relates to my degree,” Haynes says.

Being half of the two-person team running Future Commons, Haynes is not just generating ideas for the next ‘cool’ thing, but also developing, promoting and networking the business.

“We have grand ambitions to redefine how are cities work and function, so we decided to start small and experiment and learn,” he says.

He hopes to continue to use his creativity to improve sustainability and to expand his entrepreneurial ventures beyond Perth.

“There is so much to do in this world,” he says. “We need to just get out there and do it.”