Bike trip, pub crawl part of planning conference

GATHERING: Orange City Council development services director David Waddell, mayor Reg Kidd, Planning Institute NSW executive officer Michelle Riepsamen and planner Paul Johnston before Wednesday's ride.
GATHERING: Orange City Council development services director David Waddell, mayor Reg Kidd, Planning Institute NSW executive officer Michelle Riepsamen and planner Paul Johnston before Wednesday's ride.

PLANNING might be a self-professed “nerdy” occupation, but it could hardly be labelled boring, judging by this week’s annual Planning Institute of Australia conference. 

One hundred and fifty planners have descended on Orange for the three-day conference, which included a pub crawl on Wednesday night, following the official welcome event at Groundstone. 

While some of the planners the Central Western Daily spoke to during registration said they looked forward to the crawl, most said they hoped to network with other professionals and learn about changes in the industry.

Planning Institute NSW executive officer Michelle Riepsamen said the institute liked to move the conference each year.

“Planners are nerds who like to go on the street, and I can say that because I’m a planner,” she said with a laugh.

“It’s a beautiful thing to look at new communities and have people come together.”

Orange City Council development services director David Waddell said he looked forward to showing his colleagues around Orange.

Participants started with a bicycle tour of the future Shiralee subdivision, an agriculture bus tour and heritage walk before heading into a workshop on regional design, in conjunction with the NSW Department of Planning. 

Thursday will feature talks from mayor Reg Kid, who will speak about past governments’ efforts to move the main centre of Orange to Shadforth, and Young Planner of the Year Tom Gardiner.

Other keynotes on Thursday and Friday will talk about treechangers, using technology to connect towns bridging the city-country divide and future-proofing.

Urban designer Diana Griffiths will run a session on lessons learned from town centre revitalisation.

With Orange contemplating the upgrade of its own CBD, Ms Griffiths said public spaces were about more than shopping as people’s lives grew busier. 

“It’s more about experiencing things and meeting people,” she said. 

She said public art was one of the main trends, particularly on silos and old or dilapidated buildings.

“It changes the mood,” she said.

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