Curtin University, together with Future Bayswater Inc, has won two awards at the annual Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) WA Awards for Planning Excellence, in recognition of their innovative Bayswater Living Lab project.
The project, which brought new ideas for urban revitalisation opportunities in the Bayswater Town Centre and Industrial Area, won the Cutting Edge Research and Teaching Award and the President’s Award, recognising the project’s collaborative nature.
Project coordinator Dr Courtney Babb, from Curtin University’s School of Design and the Built Environment, said the Bayswater Living Lab project was a great example of students working proactively in the local community to solve ‘real world’ issues and propose appropriate solutions, providing a tangible learning experience.
“The prize reflects the hard work of many individuals, and is a great way to recognise the ideas of the planning, architecture and sustainability policy students starting out on their professional paths, driven by passion to make better urban places, not only in Bayswater, but greater Perth and beyond,” Dr Babb said.
To complete the project, students were tasked with developing a deep understanding of a number of key sites in Bayswater, ideally bringing to the project a fresh viewpoint to provide new ideas and opportunities to improve the Bayswater Town Centre, Train Station and Bayswater Industrial Area.
“Bayswater is undergoing significant change as a result of the State Government’s Metronet plan, and this project was a great opportunity to bring together students and local community members, land and business owners, local planners and built environment experts to develop a shared understanding of the opportunities available,” Dr Babb said.
“The Living Lab also provided a place where people could come together to discuss ideas about how to regenerate the area in ways that provide ongoing benefits to the current and future Bayswater communities.”
In order to complete the project, students created, and then worked from, a Living Lab, which is a series of Bayswater-based venues that allowed them to be ‘on the ground,’ experiencing the area directly and working with local residents in their neighbourhood.
“By being locally based, the students were able to engage directly with the sites and their contexts, capturing detailed information about the current conditions and challenges locals face first hand, as well as being able to speak to residents and local business owners about their experiences,” Dr Babb said.
“The students then presented their work in various forms including reports and posters at community engagement events, ensuring they are better equipped as future planning and design professionals to understand and respond to the complexities of urban regeneration.
“It’s great to have been part of a project that has the potential to provide a positive effect to the City of Bayswater and the nearby communities.”
The Bayswater Living Lab builds on the 2017 PIA Award-winning Future Bayswater Community Engagement and Conversations program.
More information about the PIA WA Awards for Planning Excellence can be found at planning.org.au/awards/wa