Design with Country:
Resilience Studio

Coordinators: Professor Alex Felson and Jefa Greenaway.
Senior tutor: Kirstine Wallis

Design with Country: Resilience Studio explored the large urbanised riverine system running through the heart of Melbourne, Australia, known as the Birrarung (The Yarra River). The Birrarung Council has approached the University of Melbourne to collaborate and develop resiliency planning. This multidisciplinary studio developed landscape architecture, architecture, planning and urban design strategies to address needs and aspirations along the living riverine corridor. Students were immersed in local culture and science, built cultural awareness, engaged with city managers and Traditional Owners, stakeholders and design professionals in order to understand the challenges and opportunities of the river precinct from multiple perspectives. Students generated a series of design and strategic planning proposals and build a shared vision for the Birrarung in Richmond, including the Burnley campus.

The studio began with educational immersion to build professional relationships and cultural intelligence, including a parallel seminar series of First Nations voices. This period of outreach, learning, listening, communication, collaboration and co-design with Traditional Owners builds on the Wilip-gin Birrarung murron (Yarra River Protection Act of 2017) Legislation and the Birrarung Council, working with the concept of bi-cultural environmental net gain which incorporates Traditional Owner and community aspirations. The Act builds on the Wurundjeri peoples’ recognition of the Birrarung as a single living entity. Background context and readings allowed students to expand their awareness of the history, context and perspectives of Country and custodianship.

Alex Felson is a landscape architect and ecologist and the Elisabeth Murdoch Chair of Landscape Architecture at the University of Melbourne.  Jefa Greenaway is a registered architect and Wailwan|Kamilaroi and Knowledge Broker/Lecturer as part of the Indigenous Curriculum Development for ABP.

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Landscape Architecture 2021_winter