Informing Professions

The Curtin Centre for Sport and Recreation Research has engaged in teaching within the School of Built Environment since 2011 with the overall objective of bringing students and community together to better understand how design can influence decision making for active lifestyles.

As part of their architecture studies, students are encouraged to be innovative in their design thinking and learning. In particular, they are made aware of the importance of the setting and context of the environment in which they will be working.

This innovative project has had significant impact at the cultural, community and policy level; student exhibitions and workshops have been held, and student designs have informed submissions to Local and Federal Government. And, in the case of work with Surfing WA and the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River, student designs informed a successful bid for the redevelopment of Surfer’s Point.

Place-making at Curtin Rowing Club – Planning Report - 2017

Curtin University Urban and Regional Planning studio for 5 Honours students.

Lecturer: Dr Isaac Middle.

Following a similar theme from previous iterations, this unit applied the topic of place-making in public open space to a live planning situation: the proposed re-development at Curtin Rowing Club. Students were challenged to imagine how this redevelopment could become part of a greater place-activation plan along the Waterford Foreshore, which in the process could give Curtin a greater presence on Canning River. An increased focus was put on stakeholder engagement, with students meeting with representatives from the Rowing Club, various Curtin departments, and the City of South Perth in order to incorporate the decisions from each of these potential clients into their final planning interventions.

Active Architecture for Urban Sports - 2016

Curtin University School of Built Environment design studio for 25 Master of Architecture Students.

Lecturer: Dr Robyn Creagh

Students were challenged to review and propose urban design for urban sports and active recreation. In groups of four students explored the environmental issues for chosen pursuits: skateboarding, parkour, urban exploring, walking, cycling and children’s play. Through collaboration with the Place Activation Team at Curtin, students were invited to take Curtin University as a primary case study site. Over the course of the semester practitioner and researcher guests helped students connect their critical design thinking into the active recreation field. Presentations and proposals produced by the students have informed further work by the Place Activation Team at Curtin particularly around provision of skateboarding infrastructure.

Place-making for Public Open Space – Planning Report - 2016

Curtin University Urban and Regional Planning studio for 10 Honours students.

Lecturers: Dr Isaac Middle and Dr Robyn Creagh.

While similar in structure to the previous iterations, the combined research backgrounds of the two mentors allowed the scope of the unit to be expanded. The theory surrounding sense of place and place-making was more strongly integrated into student research programs. Student case study sites were also expanded to include not only ‘green’ spaces but also built public spaces such as shopping centres and cultural precincts. Teaching methodologies were also developed further, with workshops made more engaging and interactive.

Place-specific Public Open Space Activation – Planning Report - 2016

Curtin University Urban and Regional Planning studio for 17 Honours students.

Lecturer: Dr Isaac Middle.

This was the first iteration of the Planning Report unit, developed from the ground up for non-dissertation (professional) undergraduate Planning students. Each student identified a public open space as a primary case study and developed a report which analysed the current and potential use of the space. Based on best practice case studies, academic research and their own primary data collection, students proposed place-specific and community engaged activation programs. Various professional contacts developed through CSRR research projects were brought in to speak to the students about real-world planning considerations.

The Implications of Facilities on Use and Perceptions of Public Open Space: a Local Open Space Case Study - 2016

Natasha Trefry: Urban and Regional Planning Honours Dissertation, Curtin University

Supervisor: Dr Robyn Creagh

The purpose of this dissertation is to explore if there is a connection between the provision of facilities with local green open space and public use and perceptions of those public open spaces. Research was focused on the provision and perceptions of facilities and local open space through a multiple case study approach, three local parks around Perth: Annie’s Landing (Ellenbrook), Shirley Strickland Reserve (Ardross) and Kadidjiny Park (Melville). The findings of this study have determined that the provision of facilities in local parks does influence use and perceptions. However, provision is only one identified factor contributing to the way that local open space is perceived and used by people. Additional factors include the following: suburb demographics, proximity to alternate local parks and where the park fits into the suburban identity and hierarchy of open spaces.

See full dissertation.

The unintended outcomes of state planning policy on sporting public open space provision: Perth, WA and Melbourne, VIC - 2016

Jessica Watts: Urban and Regional Planning Masters Dissertation, Curtin University

Supervisor: Dr Isaac Middle

This dissertation built directly on the CSRR Active Open Space research project, which mapped and quantified the provision of sporting, conservation and stormwater management open space in outer growth area suburbs in Perth. A key outcome of the study was that policies promoting the increased retention native vegetation and greater inspiration of Water Sensitive urban Design proactive was reducing the proportion of parkland available for organised community sport. The Masters student replicated this research in Melbourne, with the addition of some qualitative investigation, to determine if outer growth suburbs in Victoria were facing a similar situation.

See full dissertation.

Backyard size in outer-suburban greenfield developments in Perth and Bunbury: a study of drivers, trade-offs and impacts - 2016

David Stapleton: Urban and Regional Planning Masters Dissertation, Curtin University.

Supervisor: Dr Isaac Middle

This Masters dissertation built directly on a CSRR research project: Impacts of Decreasing Backyard Sizes in Perth Greenfield Developments. The student research looked in more detail at the underlying motives for housing decisions of Perth residents in two residential areas – exploring whether home-owners were choosing homes with smaller backyards because they were no longer required, or whether this was a trade-off for other consideration such as cost, house size and location.

See full dissertation.

Architecture: It Grows - 2015

Curtin University School of Built Environment design studio for 25 Master of Architecture Students.

Lecturers: Katherine Ashe, Dr Robyn Creagh, Pip Munckton.

For this Masters Architecture studio CSRR challenged students to think about community garden design as a site for a series of physical activities such as digging, pruning, weeding, planting and harvesting. Through specialist lectures and an interactive workshop CSRR researchers helped students to explore ways to design for community garden participants of various ages and abilities. Students reported thinking about design for bodies in motion for the first time, and recognised ways of working that would contribute to their further scholarly and professional careers. The teaching team was awarded the Faculty of Humanities Teaching Excellence Award for Work Integrated Learning.


Architecture it Grows: North Perth Community Garden Public Open Space

Assessing Potential Mental Health Benefits of Different Park Typologies: An Empirical Case-Study of a Nature, Sport, and Recreation Space in the City of Wanneroo, Western Australia - 2015

Talia Turner: Urban and Regional Planning Honours Dissertation, Curtin University

Supervisor: Isaac Middle

This research built on the growing interest into the mental health benefits of green space in urban areas – applying this theory to investigate the potential of three different typologies of parks in Perth to facilitate positive mental outcomes for users.

See full dissertation.

An Architectural Spine for 18 Musicians: The Instrumentalisation of Architecture and Music - 2015

Nelly Kohar: Master of Architecture Dissertation, Curtin University

Supervisor: Dr Robyn Creagh

The perception of architecture as static, suggests that designers only produce buildings, however the character of space is not merely a visual. This thesis explores architecture as an experiential and embodied process rather than disembodied and timeless. Architectural Spine is a conceptual design project that is based on the work of minimalist music, Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich. The design project provides an alternative imagining for the hillside pathway called Jacob’s Ladder in Kings Park, Perth—a well known location for recreational walking and exercise.

See full exegesis.

Surfer’s Point Studio - 2011

Curtin University Master of Architecture design studio

Unit coordinators: Stephen Neille and Beth George

This is one of a variety of projects informing decision makers using student community-centred work as stimuli.

In this project the students were asked to consider:

“In what ways can regional towns (such as Margaret River / Prevelly) develop architectural facilities to create high quality environments that cater for both; ephemeral ‘one-off’ world class sporting events and the permanent ongoing needs of the community?”

The test case scenario was the “Drug Aware Pro Margaret River”: catering for the once a year event (large number of people over one week / weekend) and catering for the ongoing (year round) needs of the Prevelly / Margaret River community.

Collaborating with Surfing WA and the Shire, the outcome of this work supported the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River’s successful bid for funds to redevelop Surfer’s Point.

Water and the Wheatbelt: revitalising a public swimming centre for a regional community in Western Australia - 2011

Jan-Gaebriel Nibbelink: Master of Architecture Dissertation, Curtin University

Supervisor: Dr Sarah McGann

Swimming pools have long been perceived as a valuable and respected resource in the regional communities of Western Australia. While water is becoming increasingly scarce and expensive, these centres remain dependent on the town’s main water supply as a means to refill the pools when required. Consequently, an evident shift in water security is putting a strain on these regional facilities, now facing the detrimental possibility of becoming decommissioned. The Dissertation proposes a ‘test model’ swimming centre which demonstrates a responsibility for water management, by employing methods of rainwater collection. This Mukinbudin architectural study explores the potential for water treasuring and celebration in a regional community, and broader community engagement in swimming pool facilities.

See full exegesis.