Master Planning — It’s A Team Sport

“Master planning is a team sport says award-winning designer Cathryn Chatburn, the founder of Urban Enquiry and passionate Buckminster Fuller advocate. Chatburn defines a masterplan as a Spatial Business Plan that provides a framework to guide change, although the “interesting dilemma is that it’s supposed to create absolute certainty with maximum flexibility, which really messes with the head”.  Addressing UAP’s Art and Design team, Chatburn outlines how this tool for decision making is a collaboration across disciplines, and where the opportunity to visually manifest the narrative through art can occur.

As the world becomes more urbanised, developing inclusive, sustainable cities require complex dynamic creativity that weaves together both hard and soft infrastructure. This requires teams to bring uncommon collaboration into their structure, not only drawing upon the individuals unique expertise, but engaging in new paradigms to explore a new future.

“Master planning maps and engages people with a new idea of the way we create settlements. They help people imagine their future with the power to actually create these strategies and frameworks for a contributive place, which means that sustainable thinking is not only as an add-on but as a way to change the system for the cities and places”.

Education City, a new masterplan for Qatar, embodies this complex paradigm. Embedded within the International Masterplan team headed by Moriyama +Teshima Architects was the exploration of a unique narrative, a vision that embraced the conceptual journey of a city reaching for the stars. Respecting the traditional Islamic culture, the narrative revealed the past through history and stories whilst capturing the present through form and function, to glimpse the future through creativity and innovation. The vision reflects a place where the natural and physical assets can deliver against the strategic ambition of its educational remit, its community, business and civic responsibility, and do this in a sustainable way.

“Master planning creates the platform to create a unified language across all disciplines to bring the same vision and the same goal. We don’t just experience a street, a road, a building, a route. We experience it as a whole, which again, for me is why the master plan process is so powerful as a unifier and an alignment to a process”. Engagement with the fundamentals of place requires “delving into the DNA”, discovering what has been to aspire to what could be.

Developing a compelling place narrative requires conceptual thinking to layer meaning, authenticity and respect into a powerful vision that can unite today for a sustainable tomorrow.

This article was written by UAP Senior Principal | Middle East, Ms Chetana Andary.