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Haptic Pathways

Co-Designing Inclusive, Civic and Sensorial Moments in the City

Haptic Pathways is the winning entry for the 2019 DCP Design Challenge.

The 2019 Design Challenge was a joint initiative between the City of Melbourne and the Design & Creative Practice ECP which sought to tackle the real-world issue: How do we design for inclusive cities?

Haptic Pathways reimagines the suburban street creating diverse sensory experiences that explicitly include urban residents or visitors of all mobilities and neurodiversities. The project intends to create everyday incidental urban pathways that focus on the under-emphasised and under-explored facets of sensory connection, such as touch and smell. These immersive nature experiences will include such design elements and interventions as block plantings of native species; accessible sensory spaces; and braille graffiti walls.

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Freya Thomas
Research Fellow, ICON Science
School: Centre for Urban Research

freya.thomas@rmit.edu.au

Botanist, quantitative plant ecologist; Research Fellow, ICON Science, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University Melbourne. Freya is a plant ecologist working as a Research Fellow at RMIT on an ARC-Linkage project which focuses on designing urban green spaces for human wellbeing and for biodiversity.

Freya is a botanist whose professional work has spanned many Australian ecosystems and she has a thorough knowledge of Australian native flora. Her PhD focused on building and evaluating quantitative predictive models of plant growth. She also has experience working for the State Government on developing and implementing long term vegetation monitoring programs. Her current research at RMIT focuses on evaluating how urban green spaces influence human wellbeing but also how plant choice in cities influences other organisms like birds, bees and butterflies. Freya is passionate about plants and interested in various ways plants can be wholly appreciated and incorporated into urban areas.


Georgia Garrard
Senior Lecturer & Senior Research Fellow, NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub
School: Global, Urban and Social Studies

georgia.garrard@rmit.edu.au

Interdisciplinary conservation scientist, Senior Research Fellow, NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub; Senior Lecturer, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies; ICON Science Research Group, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University, Melbourne

Georgia is an ecologist and conservation scientist. She is a Senior Research Fellow in RMIT’s ICON Science Research Group and Centre for Urban Research, and Senior Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, where she teaches Ecological Foundations of Planning. For over a decade, she has conducted research that addresses the critical challenge of conserving and enhancing biodiversity in urban environments. Her protocol for Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design, codeveloped with Prof Sarah Bekessy, was a finalist in the Banksia Sustainable Cities Award 2016. Georgia has contributed to and led projects on biodiversity sensitive urban design for greenfield and urban renewal development projects, with local government (City of Melbourne), industry (GHD) and philanthropic (The Myer Foundation) organisations. She also co-leads projects for the National Environmental Science Program’s Threatened Species Recovery Hub and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning that aim reconnect people with nature in a way that fosters care and stewardship for nature. She is a CI on a current ARC Linkage Project (Designing green spaces for biodiversity and human well-being), with project partners the City of Melbourne, ARUP, Greening Australia and Phillip Johnson Landscapes.


Sarah Bekessy
ARC Future Fellow & Professor
School: Centre for Urban Research

sarah.bekessy@rmit.edu.au

Interdisciplinary conservation scientist; ARC Future Fellow; Professor, ICON Science Research Group, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University.

Professor Sarah Bekessy leads the Interdisciplinary Conservation Science research group at RMIT University. She is interested in the intersection between science and policy in environmental management and is currently involved in an interdisciplinary range of research projects, including an ARC Future Fellowship titled Socio-ecological models for environmental decision making’ and an ARC linkage project titled Designing green spaces for biodiversity and human well-being’. She leads projects in two National Environment Science Program Hubs (Threatened Species Hub and Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub) and is a Chief Investigator in the European Commission-funded project Urban Greenup, which seeks to evaluate nature-based solutions for cities. She co-developed the Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design protocol that is now being used by numerous developers, governments and non-government organisations to design innovative urban biodiversity strategies.


Zoe Myers
Urban designer and Lecturer
School: Urban Design Research Centre

Zoe is an urban designer and lecturer working at the Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC), part of the School of Design at the University of Western Australia, where she teaches in the Master of Urban Design. She has led and participated in research projects and design communication for local and State government on topics such as the challenges, perceptions, and spatial issues relating to medium density housing and transit-oriented development, implications of river and sea-level rise for cities, and co-design strategies for urban renewal. Zoe has over 15 years’ experience across the private, public, and tertiary sectors, in project management, policy and planning, and senior strategic communications, including experience in statutory planning, strategic planning policy, and legislative and parliamentary processes. She sits on the City of Vincent Environmental Advisory Group, which has overseen projects such as drain conversion into public park space. Zoe’s current research at AUDRC is focused on how evidence-based urban design can enhance mental health and restoration through connection to nature in our cities, and the remaking of overlooked spaces and hard infrastructure as ecologically and emotionally regenerative places. She is the author of Wildness and Wellbeing: Nature, Neuroscience and Urban Design (Palgrave Macmillan).

Dr Zoe Myers is the team leader for Haptic Pathways, the finalist for the 2019 DCP Design Challenge.

Design for Wellbeing Network

Working to improve the design of healthcare environments

What are the gaps in healthcare design? Focusing specifically on hospitals and other formal healthcare settings, the Design for Wellbeing Network (DfW) aims to improve the understanding of how people experience these services and environments. The group of international and interdisciplinary researchers are working towards improvements in these experiences through rigorous qualitative and practice-based research.

The DfW is committed to deploying their research through partnerships with external organisations such as hospital groups, designers, architects and government.

Visit the DfW website.

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If you would like to get involved with this project, fill out the form below or reach out to project leaders via the contact info provided alongside each bio.

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