Frankly Frankston speaks to Frankston Council urban designer Meghan Doherty about her work and how she sees the city changing over the next 20 years.
Could you tell us a bit about what you do at the council?
I provide urban design advice on proposed developments within the municipality. This may be for housing and apartment proposals, streetscape redevelopments, commercial development and even shop frontages.
What types of areas/buildings do you work on?
Some public spaces (streetscapes etc) but the vast majority is housing and commercial development. This extends to individual housing, unit development, apartment design, mixed-use developments, even aged care and childcare developments.
How important is sustainable design?
Frankston City Council has a proud history with sustainability initiatives and won the Australian Sustainable Cities Award in 2015. Sustainability in any form of design is crucial for a variety of social, environmental and financial reasons; the implications of sustainable (and unsustainable) design extend well beyond our immediate community. Urban design has numerous sustainability considerations including energy performance, water resources, stormwater management, transport, waste management and the urban ecology. Design longevity is also a key indicator for sustainability, so how our spaces can adapt to change is also important.
What’s your favorite part about your industry?
I love the collaboration, whether it is between departments, external professionals or the community – the diversity in my projects ensures I’m never bored and the work is never ‘stale’. Being able to see the physical results of your work is also very satisfying, especially when you can see the benefits reflected in the community.
What/who would be your favourite design/designer?
I don’t have a favourite design or designer per se but I’ve always had a fascination for coastal designs and projects that manage to integrate with the landscape rather than use the landscape to ‘grandstand’. Paula Hayes was one of the first designers who caught my attention and I still think her work is fantastic.
How do you see Frankston changing over the coming years?
It’s so exciting to be working in Frankston at the moment. There’s a lot of change happening; some big infrastructure developments are giving Frankston a fresh start and new vitality and the results can already be seen. Frankston has so much potential as a seaside city so it will be interesting to see the change and push for revitalisation over the next 20 years, including upgraded streetscapes, new buildings and new public spaces.
What makes urban design attractive in your eyes?
Good urban design comes in all shapes and sizes but is generally well considered and responsive to its context.
What’s your preferred style of design?
I prefer highly considered, fine-grain design – often with a quirky or playful detail.