Strategic Spatial Framework – The Owl Plan

Help CERES plan for flexibility

CERES Community Park in East Brunswick covers 4 hectares and is packed with activities, users and structures. To guide its evolution in a manner that best uses our finite space and avoids constraining future opportunities as activities thrive or change, there is need for a guiding plan for the park. But previous plans have quickly become redundant, as CERES nimbly responds to new opportunities, emerging challenges, and energetic contributors. A rigid plan could easily stifle the creativity and experimentation that gives CERES its vitality and helps it pursue its purpose.

How can we have the benefits of an overarching site plan while retaining the flexibility that’s essential to support innovation, experimentation and spontaneity?

A small team of volunteers tackling this challenge are exploring a ‘values-led’ framework to inform choices and decisions about the use of spaces and location of structures around CERES’ main base in East Brunswick. (This project concentrates solely on the main CERES Park.)

We welcome your help with feedback, suggestions and ideas in formulating a new type of plan.

Contribute your ideas by 10th December 2017 in any of the following ways:

  1. Add to the comments section of this blog
  2. Email reception@ceres.org.au with ‘Owl Plan’ as the subject line.
  3. Fill in our online questionnaire
  4. Attend a public information session: 6 – 7 pm Thursday 23rd November at CERES in the Van Raay Meeting rooms
  5. Post a letter (old school) to: CERES, corner Roberts and Stewart Street, Brunswick East 3057.

The Owl Plan

In consulting about this plan, we’ve given it a working title of the Owl Plan: helping inform Wise Decisions.

The proposed approach is detailed in a Discussion Paper that CERES Board has endorsed as a basis for wider consultation, with the aim of achieving a suitable model for CERES to adopt for choices and decision-making impacting upon the use and development of the East Brunswick site. As the ‘Strategic Spatial Framework’ Discussion Paper is a long document, the key points are summarised below.

A values-led approach

The project team is aiming to produce a spatial framework that is imbued with the ethos that CERES espouses, its core principles and articulated objectives. It researched contemporary and historic statements of values, both explicit and implied, which are summarised and examined in Part 2 of the Discussion Paper.

Based on this research, the project team has assembled a list of ‘value themes’ that appear to be relevant to the physical form and layout of CERES. (See section 2.2 of the Discussion Paper.) This required some speculation as to implied values or objectives, and some extrapolation of stated goals. Consequently, these are now open for consideration and feedback by CERES stakeholders for verification. In response to feedback, they may be adjusted with additions, deletions or refinement.

Questions & prompts:
o Do you think CERES values have been accurately captured in section 2.1 of the Discussion Paper?
o Are there others values or objectives relevant to this task that you feel should also be included?
o Do you feel some values listed are not relevant to this task, or are described inaccurately?
o In considering how these values influence spatial decisions, do you think the ‘Values themes’ suggested in section 2.2 are appropriate or helpful?

Please provide your feedback through our on-line questionnaire or email us at reception@ceres.org.au with ‘Owl Plan’ as the subject title.


‘Design Principles’ to guide concepts, choices & decisions

The Discussion Paper draws on the identified ‘value themes’ to propose ten Design Principles. This is being proposed as the central tool for forward planning and decision-making about physical choices at CERES. It is proposed that these principles will be applied at all levels of decision-making: from initial concepts, investment decisions, assessment of physical proposals, design refinement and implementation.

Rather than a ‘checklist’ to justify a proposal against, they should be applied as foundational considerations during all phases of the conceptualisation, refinement and advancement of ideas and proposals. They treat the CERES Park as a multi-faceted organism, where any intervention or action is likely to impact to some degree with all others, requiring a holistic approach that resists the temptation for elements to be seen and managed in isolation from each other.

It is expected that there will be ongoing refinement of this list through operational experience and incremental enhancements.

Headings for each of the 10 Design Principles are:
• ‘Touching the Earth lightly’ in all we do
• Demonstrating good practice in progressing sustainable living
• A whole place
• Permeability
• Legibility
• Linkages within the site
• Linkages with surroundings – permeate with our locality
• Unify rather than divide
• Common spaces
• Collaborative, ‘joined-up’ design and decision-making

Each of these Design Principles is elaborated upon in section 2.3 of the Discussion Paper.

Questions & prompts:
o Do you feel the 10 ‘Design Principles’ suggested for the CERES Park (section 2.3) will be helpful and robust guidance for making decisions about the location of activities and structures?
o Have we missed anything?
o Can the list be improved – in its grouping?, in the content of specific principles?, in any other ways?

Please provide your feedback through our on-line questionnaire or email us at reception@ceres.org.au with ‘Owl Plan’ as the subject title.


A design and decision sequence

Part 3 of the Discussion Paper outlines a sequence to be encouraged and applied during the generation and consideration of choices, proposals or decisions that have physical or spatial implications. Where proposals are being evaluated for some form of ‘approval’ (whether this is granting of approval or the allocation of space or budget) this could become a formalised assessment tool.

In short, this provides a set of reminder prompts encouraging good planning, and decision-making that reflects stated objectives. It includes consideration of context, along with CERES values, then application of the Design Principles to inform a tangible proposal.

Questions & prompts:
o Do you have any suggestions that could refine the content of section 3 of the Discussion Paper?

Please provide your feedback through our on-line questionnaire or email us at reception@ceres.org.au with ‘Owl Plan’ as the subject title.


Process review

Part 4 of the Discussion Paper makes some generic observations about ‘process mechanisms’, recognising that the complexity of decision-making is proportionate to the magnitude of a proposal.

This project is not charged with the task of reviewing CERES’ decision-making processes, as this is occurring in parallel through an internal operational review which is close to conclusion. Consequently this project does not propose any changes to the process pathways for decision-making at CERES, however the Design Principles suggested as the central planning and decision guidance can be utilised as criteria at appropriate points within any decision-making structure.

CERES invites your input

To find out more about this project, read the full Discussion Paper and contribute your ideas by 10th December 2017 in any of the following ways:

  1. Add to the comments section of this blog
  2. Email reception@ceres.org.au with ‘Owl Plan’ as the subject line.
  3. Fill in our online questionnaire
  4. Attend a public information session: 6 – 7 pm Thursday 23rd November at CERES in the Van Raay Meeting rooms
  5. Post a letter (old school) to: CERES, corner Roberts and Stewart Street, Brunswick East 3057.
By | 2017-11-08T14:32:07+00:00 November 8th, 2017|Around Site, Board Updates|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Judith Horton October 29, 2018 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Hello Ceres people!
    I’m wondering who auspices Ceres please.?
    I believe I understand the community aspect of your organisation. Just wondering 😗. Thanks
    Judith

    • Sieta Beckwith October 31, 2018 at 4:15 pm - Reply

      Hello Judith. We are a registered charity organisation and so do not require auspicing. Please feel free to get in touch directly if you have any questions: ceres@ceres.org.au. Thanks!

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