Monash Urban Planning and Design student wins national award for planning excellence

After being awarded the Victorian state title in 2020, Monash University student Giselle Osbourne has been awarded Outstanding Student Project in the Planning Institute of Australia’s (PIA) National Awards for Planning Excellence.

Giselle’s winning project, Rewilding Industrial Land, was born while studying the Master of Urban Planning and Design at Monash in 2020. The Sprawling City planning project studio, led by academic supervisors Associate Professor Liton Kamruzzaman and Dr Laura Harper, gave Giselle the opportunity to combine her passion, creative vision, and finely honed technical skills to discover her own independent project through her in-class investigations.

I was in a planning studio where we were doing a lot of work with historical maps and my supervisor, Laura Harper, encouraged me to explore the patterns appearing in these exercises. This led me to layer biodiversity planning and industrial land use data at a metropolitan level. At the same time, I was also working at Hume City Council and was exposed to some of the awesome work of the environmental planning team there. These two things, work and study came together really well in this project.

Giselle Osbourne

Giselle’s highly trained eye from her master’s studies and her work for Hume City Council as a Student Strategic Planner alongside the environmental planning team, drew her to investigate the correlation between biodiverse land and employment/industrial land in the outer suburbs and growth areas of Melbourne. Giselle soon discovered this correlation was no coincidence.

Hero image impression of the Campbellfield site.

“The rare grasslands of Melbourne have been decimated by agriculture and the conversion of land for residential uses, so a lot of biodiverse lands are now in small patches in the in-between! My work is about trying to conserve and improve the condition of these rare ecosystems through the planning system and with some urban design guidelines.”

Giselle’s national award-winning project presents a strategy for metropolitan Melbourne/Naarm that seeks to build a network of biodiverse green infrastructure on employment land and offers an alternative path forward for biodiversity planning.

Giselle expressed that being presented with this national honour is such a wonderful surprise that will help to progress her career in urban planning.

“I feel gracious and very lucky that my teachers at Monash pushed me to submit my work last year. PIA is a big network, and having a platform here has already been helpful to connect to like-minded, environmentally conscious organisations and planners.”

Moving forward, Giselle is excited to continue working at Infrastructure Victoria where she is a Networks and Planning intern and is contemplating applying for her PhD at Monash. But most importantly, Giselle insists she wants to “do something where I can continue to learn and be challenged!”

Professor Carl Grodach, Director of Urban Planning and Design at Monash Art, Design and Architecture offered his congratulations to Giselle:

Giselle has created an innovative proposal to reshape a significant yet overlooked piece of the urban puzzle: industrial zoned land. Her project brings fresh ideas to industrial planning and design that promotes the coexistence of biodiversity and employment land. Giselle’s project presents applicable strategies, both now and into the future, and indeed deserves to be acknowledged nationwide through this award.

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