Cockburn Central Town Centre, Cockburn WA

Jeff led a multi-disciplinary team of consultants in designing the new Regional Town Centre and WA Government flagship TOD – Cockburn Central. The project is the first truly urban, high-density greenfield project in Perth to be designed around a rail station in accordance with transit-oriented development principles. Jeff was responsible for the urban design of the project, overseeing the structure plan and subdivision, and writing the built form codes. In addition to writing the code, Jeff sat on a design review committee to provide design feedback on development applications and to ensure compliance with the codes. Accordingly, he understands what it takes to ensure the successful implementation of such codes.

The town centre layout is based around a traditional street and block grid system, with most car parking occurring at the centre of blocks. In the early stages of the project, it was not known how much interest there would be in this style of living nor which uses would predominate. The built form controls needed to create a framework that embedded the key urban design principles but were not so prescriptive as to predetermine the development outcome. The ground floor interface changes depending on location within the town centre; some locations can be residential, some must be retail shopfronts, and others can be either (but designed to allow eventual conversion to retail long term). It was intended that this new town centre would evolve over time.

The built form codes used an innovative “façade standards” approach, controlling the public interface of street block faces rather than by building type. This allowed developers flexibility in responding to the market while ensuring the appropriate built form outcome. A three storey building height is allowed at nil setback along all streets. If higher buildings are desired, they must be set back to retain pedestrian scale. Overall building height is limited on the north sides of streets to ensure adequate winter sun penetration into streets and public spaces. The project was recognized for its urban design excellence by winning the coveted PIA WA ‘Minister’s Award’ in 2007 then winning the National PIA ‘Plan to Place’ Award in 2013. Jeff undertook this work while at Cardno.