A recent Master of Urban Planning graduate, Lisa Hunt is a young woman who understands the value of strategic planning in mitigating the impact of natural disasters. Lisa works for the Country Fire Authority (CFA), a role which positions her at the cutting edge of one of Australia’s biggest urban design challenges – bushfire risk reduction.
Following the events of Black Saturday in 2009 and the fires which recently swept across NSW and Victoria, we are increasingly aware of the frequency and devastation of bushfires. As a CFA Fire Prevention Planning and Project Officer, Lisa is directly engaged with restructuring bushfire planning guidelines – new principles which will impact where and how our homes are built and our suburbs are designed.
“Urban planning is a very important aspect of bushfire risk reduction in urban fringe areas, particularly for new developments,” says Lisa. “People who live in urban fringe areas will always be at a certain level of risk, however, following particular planning considerations can be successful in mitigating this risk and minimising the impacts.”
“Bushfire Urban Planning can start at the very broad level and look at ‘is there too much risk in a particular area?’ Planning can also look at the onsite considerations if development does proceed. The role of urban planning has increased greatly since the tragic events of Black Saturday, as a result of the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission recommendations, and plays a fundamental role in reducing the risk to life and property in such areas.”
While studying Architecture at Curtin University in Perth, with a view of becoming an architect, Lisa discovered that she was more interested in the larger scale, broad network layout of the built environment. This realisation led her to Melbourne in 2011 to complete a Master of Urban Planning and she has never looked back. The combination of her architectural degree and urban planning course have been valuable in her planning roles and she sees her future focused on statutory planning with a continued involvement in bushfire work.