In October last year, Maribyrnong City Council released the Good Design Standard (GDS).  The GDS is a series of ten questions that are intended as a test on development proposals to improve the quality of housing in Maribyrnong.  The questions come under three categories: contributes to the context; creates a place and creates a home.  It aims to encourage dialogue between applicants, builders and architects throughout the design process, leading to the creation of better places to live.

Planning permit applicants are required to complete the self-assessment form, rating their proposal against a ‘traffic light’ system.  Applicants should be aiming to achieve as many green lights (meeting GDS the desired objective) as possible.  Once the planning permit application has been lodged, Council assesses the proposal against the GDS in addition to its assessment against other planning scheme requirements.

Good Design StandardCollie assisted the architects in the drafting of the GDS.  Collie provided town planning input and advice regarding statutory planning issues that may arise including how the GDS corresponds with existing planning policy and how it may be implemented through the planning scheme.

Daniel Brady, Senior Architect and Urban Designer at Maribyrnong City Council conducted a presentation on the GDS at a Young Planners event this week.  Daniel discussed the idea behind the GDS and the importance of asking questions throughout the creative process, to find the best design solution.

Daniel believes that we often we get too focused on designing and assessing proposals against measurable codes and guidelines and can become disengaged with the need to create functional spaces for people to live in.  In its early stages, the GDS has been successful in facilitating discussions between architects and planners to improve the quality of a proposal.

Abito dwellingThe GDS has drawn inspiration from the ‘Building for Life’ standard for homes and neighbourhoods in the United Kingdom.  Building for Life was released in 2003 and has enjoyed great success with an accreditation scheme now in place this is being used as a marketing tool to promote high quality housing.

We congratulate Maribyrnong on this initiative and will be interested to see what impact this tool has on the quality of housing in the Municipality.