Strategic Planning Project - Whitlam Estate Development

PIA Planning Excellence - Strategic Planning Project

SPACELAB's Whitlam Design Team attended the PIA 2023 Awards for Planning Excellence and accepted the commendation award for Strategic Planning Project - Whitlam Estate Development on behalf of their client, the Suburban Land Agency.

In summary PIA commented: "The estate of Whitlam effectively delivers a response that talks to the topography and distant views. We applaud that the master plan dedicates a large portion to open space, and that much of the due diligence was undertaken prior to the design being considered. The judges considered that the Master Plan showed some strong design and historic references in its delivery. It drew inspiration from Australia’s past Prime Minister and his love of and purchases of art. It also provides users with a range of inclusive play opportunities which builds on other similar sites within the ACT."

Congratulations to Brendon and Tom for their passionate pursuit of urban design and landscape architecture, Jackson for his tireless planning work with a huge stakeholder group, David for his focus and project oversight and to Simon Cox and the team at the Suburban Land Agency for their ongoing commitment to producing desirable liveable communities.

Planning Excellence - Strategic Planning Project - Whitlam Estate Development

Whitlam Estate is the first suburb in the Molonglo Valley Stage 3 Plan to be developed. SPACELABwas engaged by the Suburban Land Agency (SLA) to review the North Molonglo transport linkages, develop a structure plan and a detailed estate master plan, estate development plans and landscape master plan for the 4 stages of development within the 220-ha Whitlam land release.

SPACELAB's master plan informed and guided the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate’s (EPSDD) Planning and Design Framework, which set the planning framework for Whitlam Residential Estate, as well as the rest of Molonglo, north of the Molonglo River.

Almost one third of Whitlam is dedicated to open space, facilitating a direct connection to the land in which it sits. SPACELAB coordinated site analysis advice from numerous specialists including ecologists, civil engineers, hydrologists, heritage, & bushfire consultants. This coordinated advice informed a best possible outcome for the block layout and master plan, which took the form of ‘villages’ or ‘neighbourhoods’ reinforced by block typology, planting schemes, and the surrounding natural character.

Whitlam is located across an undulating landscape surrounded by and interfacing with nature reserves, riparian gullies and the Molonglo River Corridor. SPACELAB's design provides homes for thousands of people, a local school, shops, community facilities and hectares of manicured and native parkland with views across Canberra, the National Arboretum, and the Brindabella Mountains.

SPACELAB has continued to work closely with the SLA and aforementioned specialists in the planning and development of all stages of Whitlam Estate.

During the ministerial event which officially opened Whitlam in late 2020, a smoking ceremony was conducted, along with a Welcome to Country conducted by Aunty Violet Sheridan and Richie Allen. During this opening, the cultural history of the significance of the land that Whitlam sits was shared followed by a significant moment whereby Aunty Violet poured earth into a coolamon to Minister Yvette Barry (MLA) a gesture replicating the historic moment between Gough Whitlam and Vincent Lingiari in 1975. Throughout the design and development of the estate, numerous Indigenous Representative Aboriginal Organisation's were engaged, through numerous Cultural Heritage studies, and Statement of Heritage Effects applications.

Hero-Aerial view of Whitlam with Brindabella's in Distance