PERSONAL DETAILS

BarryMcN

BARRY MCNEILL

To undertake one academic year of postgraduate study and research within the city planning schools at MIT and/or Harvard, together with study visits and practical experience at other architectural and planning schools and planning agencies - USA, UK, Sweden, Finland

BA(Tas) DipArch(HTC) DipT&CP(HTC) LFAIA LFAPI

At time of Award (1967), I was Senior Lecturer Architecture and Planning, Hobart Technical College. I became Head of School (1969-71), Director Department of Environmental Design, Tasmanian College of Advanced Education (1972-80), 1981-98 Private practice as Architect/Planner.

I established the Hobart Architectural Co-operative (1981), an Independent Design Centre for the Built and Natural Environment (chair 1981-83).

Since retirement, I have been a part-time member Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal and undertaken private research and writing eg Architecture from the Edge: The 20th Century in Tasmania 2002  with photography by another Churchill Fellow, Leigh Woolley.

BarryMcNtaken at the time of Barry’s fellowship.

FELLOWSHIP DETAILS

1968

Mine was a one year award 1968-69 for post-graduate study and research within the city planning schools at MIT and/or Harvard together with study visits and practical experience at other architectural and planning schools and planning agencies in USA, UK and Scandinavia.

The HTC continued to pay full salary enabling my wife and three children to join me for the time in Boston, although they had to travel by cheap passenger ships. Our eldest daughter was able to attend a year of elementary school.

As well as having special graduate status at MIT and attending Harvard sessions, I visited schools in USA and Canada and practical experience and research was carried out in some 15 North American cities especially a three month project with weekly visits to New Haven, Connecticut. In Europe, schools and 8 cities were visited in England, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Holland.

The emphasis was on the integration of social, political, economic and environmental aspects as well as heritage factors into the urban planning process. The relationship between local, regional, state and central governments was given special attention. Professional education studies concentrated on alternative structures and learning methods especially the involvement of live projects and practical experience.

A bizarre event happened in Dallas/Fort Worth when the regional liaison officer misunderstood a letter of introduction from Gough Whitlam which outlined the importance of urban affairs policy to the national parliament. He thought I was an Australian senator and immediately on arrival rushed me away in a white limousine to attend the hand-over of Australia’s first F111 by General Dynamics at Forth Worth. Embarrassment all round was only saved by Texan good manners and grace.

 

FELLOWSHIP CONCLUSIONS & OUTCOMES

Effective urban planning must involve co-operation between all levels of government and the main focus for this co-ordination should be at the regional level. Planning results in winners and losers and is therefore a political process which in a democracy  must therefore involve citizen participation in the professional and technical deliberations.

Urban planning relying on the negative regulatory instruments of traditional town and zoning plans is of limited use in achieving the goals of equitable, efficient, environmental and aesthetic outcomes. Action planning, capital works budgeting of public  infrastructure and parallel social measures and far more effective.

Professional education for the built and natural environments should be integrated in Environmental Design schools and emphasis should be placed on inter-disciplinary live projects and practical experience including internships.

Whilst I was able to implement some of these  principles at the TCAE, advances in urban planning in Tasmania and Australia have been patchy and the emphasis is still placed on traditional regulatory town planning schemes.

However the Fellowship was a very important stepping-stone in my career and no doubt influenced my appointment to important roles in the Premier’s State Planning Advisory Council and nationally in the development of heritage legislation, submissions to UN Habitat, urban renewal research, the Design Board of the Australia Council, the Schools Commission and the National Capital Planning Committee (1982-88).

A piece of advice to future fellows. Look to Canada rather than USA for experiences relevant to Australia.