Freo's View



The Knutsford Urban Design Strategy, which is on the agenda of the  Strategic Planning and Transport Committee of Fremantle Council on Wednesday, will no doubt attract a lot of input from the arts community in the semi industrial area that is earmarked for development.

The officers mention that walkability is an essential element of the plans, as well as respecting the original landscape, planting many more trees, flexibility when designing open spaces, disorganised parking on verges which affects cyclists and pedestrians, and connecting a path network in the precinct.

Community centres in the area, such as the Fibonacci Centre, are unique and need to have breathing space around them to be able to continue and that will be one of the many challenges for the development plans of the precinct.

Roel Loopers



Posted in environment, fremantle, urban design by freoview on October 25, 2014

I am very interested in urban design because I believe that if we get that part of developing our cities right it will create a better lifestyle and better health, so it was interesting to hear the concerns about “Urban Heat Islands” on ABC TV last night.

Urban Heat Islands are the areas in cities that have an elevation of temperatures compared to the areas directly adjacent to them and can add up to six degrees to an area. It is often a result of urban design problems, e.g. not enough urban green open space and insufficient trees.

But the colour of roofs and walls of buildings are also important, with dark colours a big no-no in warmer climates like Fremantle. It is important to build more solar-passive houses and enlarge the tree canopy, and there is the need for more green vegetation that is supported by irrigation.

It was interesting to hear that the City of Sao Paulo in Brazil has added 200 square kilometres of green space over the last years to fight pollution and improve the health of the residents. This should be a lesson for Fremantle where we are losing green space and trees and are contemplating to build on Pioneer Park, when we should really be adding new green open spaces in the central city.

In this light the following from the University of Canberra is also important, so please do the survey as it will help all of us to better understand.

The University of Canberra has launched an Urban Wellbeing Survey that is focussed on collecting and providing information about wellbeing and way of life in Australia’s most populous cities.

This survey is distinctive because it covers much more than health and wellbeing; it also covers factors that can have a big effect on wellbeing, such as travel, access to services, community wellbeing and social connectedness.

Here is a summary of what it covers:
§ Socio-demographic characteristics
§ Walkable urban design
§ Travel behaviours and attitudes
§ Building comfort in work and home
§ Access to and quality of amenities and services
§ Neighbourhood cohesion, governance & safety
§ Social participation, inclusion and exclusion
§ Physical activity
§ Connectedness, efficacy and marginalisation
§ Mental health and wellbeing
§ Physical health and health behaviours

The survey is open now through November at: Anyone over 18 can do it and can enter the prize draw if they want to. We also have a facebook page at

The Urban survey is being conducted in tandem with the Regional Wellbeing Survey which covers all of regional, rural and remote Australia, as well as the rural-urban fringe:

The urban and regional versions of the survey are linked so that people can choose whether they go into the urban or regional version when they begin the survey based on where they live.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, fremantle by freoview on July 15, 2014

Urban Design Award 2014


The City of Fremantle and CONVIC have won the Australian Urban Design Award 2014 for the Esplanade Youth Plaza skate park in the small scale category. Congratulations!

The Youth Plaza has been very controversial in Freo and divided the community, but it has been a great success that is a huge attraction for young people. The place is packed full most days and has become an asset to our city. Would it have been less successful 50 metres further south on the carpark there? Probably not, but we’ve got it on the Esplanade now, so let’s embrace and enjoy it!

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on July 23, 2013

It is interesting to note that the controversial Fremantle Old Port Project has won the Western Australian Architecture Award in the Urban Design category for architects Donaldson and Warn. The project has a great feature in the boardwalk, but had serious problems with the heavy mobile sun lounges that were a public liability risk and were damaged by vandals. It  has also been severely criticised for the so called dust bowl that makes Kidogo Arthouse a sandpit, had showers removed which were in the wrong location, etc.

One could say it was a far from perfect development. The council and community are still bickering on how to improve that Bathers Beach area and will spend and additional $ 150,000 to make it better.

I have never been a great fan of awards as they often reward creativity but don’t consider the practicality.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 25, 2012

This is pretty important for Fremantle’s future, so I have decided to copy the full media release released today by the City of Fremantle. Here it is:

Urban design guidelines next step in Kings Square precinct redevelopment

Community consultation events to include independent ‘citizens’ jury’

The much anticipated development of Fremantle’s Kings Square precinct is moving into an exciting new phase with the City of Fremantle, in consultation with industry experts and the local community, set to deliver a comprehensive set of urban design guidelines for the precinct.

The guidelines will include concept plans and guiding principles for the development of key sites within the project area; identification of preferred land uses for the key sites; and a plan for the urban design of the public spaces within the Kings Square precinct. The process for adopting the guidelines will include an intensive series of professionally facilitated stakeholder workshops, concluding with an independent ‘citizens’ jury’ to assess the various strategies put forward.

The Kings Square precinct, as well as being the geographical centre of the city, is also Fremantle’s civic hub and has been deemed as a key redevelopment site to facilitate council’s overall vision to revitalise the Fremantle city centre.

Fremantle Mayor, Dr Brad Pettitt, said having urban design guidelines in place was a very important next step in the development process of the Kings Square precinct and one that would provide the council and community with comfort on the aesthetic and functional aspects of the redevelopment of the area.

“The guidelines are a way for us as a council, in cooperation with the community, to ensure that before we get any further down the track in this process we will have a solid set of required urban design features in place. The guidelines will be a blueprint for what the community can expect from future development and will also give potential developers of the sites parameters to work within,” Dr Pettitt said.

“Kings Square and its surrounding sites have long been identified as one of the most attractive redevelopment opportunities in Fremantle and we’re very confident that the redevelopment of this precinct will be the catalyst for further redevelopment to ultimately attract more workers, shoppers and residents into the heart of the city.

“The City is also maintaining dialogue with Myer and is confident that having urban design guidelines in place will strengthen the attractiveness of the precinct from a retail perspective and enhance the opportunity for Myer to remain as the key retail tenant in Fremantle,” he added.

To ensure the urban design guidelines are the best possible outcome for Fremantle, a detailed consultation process for developing the guidelines has been put in place. The process consists of visioning, design development, community consultation, amendments (if required) and then finally, adoption by council.  To commence the process, a stakeholder visioning workshop will be held on Saturday 31 March with other stakeholder workshops and a week of interactive community consultation events to occur in late April.

“We are using local government best practice in developing the guidelines – this means a series of externally facilitated workshops and community consultation events designed to give stakeholders the opportunity to collaborate for the best possible outcomes for Fremantle,” Dr Pettitt said.

“This will potentially be the most substantial integrated development in Fremantle’s City Central for decades and we are excited to be working with key stakeholders and the community to ensure this major redevelopment opportunity serves Fremantle well over the coming decades.”


Urban design guidelines

The urban design guidelines will contain a concept plan, development guidelines and the way any new developments will integrate with each other and the existing structures.

Concept plan
The concept plan for the urban design of the public spaces within the project area will incorporate the primary pedestrian and cycle routes, vehicle circulation and parking within the area; connection and integration with built form and the preferred character and function of public spaces; identification of nodes of activity, areas of active and passive recreation, and hard and soft landscaping.
To ensure the community gets a visual interpretation of the plan, a variety of drawings including diagrams, photomontages, three dimensional (3D) modelling and perspective sketches will be prepared.

Development guidelines
A broad set of development guidelines will apply to the key sites in and around the Square. At this stage they will be fairly broad and will determine the following for each site:
·         Footprint and envelope

·         Potential yield

·         Use and program as either:

o   civic/Public

o   hotel

o   residential

o   retail/Commercial

o   office

o   other appropriate uses.

·         Design requirements such as:

o   ground level activation and accessibility

o   integration with other built form and open space

o   aesthetic character and facade treatment.


Existing buildings
The future of a number of buildings within the project area will be explored.  The project will identify options for their redevelopment or retention.
Their future footprint and envelope and yield and use will be established, as will their relation to other development sites and public space as part of the development guidelines.

As certain key structures (such as the Myer Building on Newman Court) are likely to be retained but substantially refurbished, both the concept plan and the development guidelines will place particular focus on the integration of existing buildings with the surrounding built form and the public space of Kings Square.


Community consultation events

Community consultation events will occur in an intensive week-long process from 28 April to 5 May. This will include the presentation of the various design guideline strategies to interested community members and organisations and will be complimented by a walking tour that explains the strategies in context.

An independently facilitated workshop will be held mid-week to ascertain the community’s perspective on each of the strategies and to record individuals’ feedback.

To conclude the process, an independent citizens’ jury will be held on 5 May.  At this event a variety of individuals and organisations (including interested community members) will present on the strategies to a jury of randomly selected community members. This jury will evaluate the strategies in light of these presentations, select a preferred option and provide feedback explaining their selection. The design consultants will document and analyse the outcomes of the community consultation process for presentation to the council.

Following the design development and community consultation events, the council will call a special meeting at which it will hear public comment on and debate the various strategies. It will then take a formal vote and adopt the preferred urban design guidelines for the Kings Square precinct. It is expected that this meeting will take place in late May / early July.


Dr Brad Pettitt
City of Fremantle

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