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Planning for country: empowering built environment students with Indigenous protocols and knowledge
conference contributionposted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by David Jones, D Low Choy, G Revell, S Heyes, Richard TuckerRichard Tucker
Increasingly, Built Environment (BE) professionals, including planner, architect and landscape architect practitioners, are becoming involved in the planning and design of projects for, and in direct consultation with Indigenous communities and their proponents. These projects range from inserting Indigenous cultural landscape analysis into planning schemes, including Indigenous protocols and aspirations in policy statements; designing cultural centres, information centres and housing; drafting cultural tourism strategies and devising cross-cultural land management plans. This entails working with Indigenous communities or their nominated representatives as stakeholders in community engagement, consultation, and planning processes. Critically, BE professionals must be able to plan and design with regard to Indigenous community’s cultural protocols, issues and values. Yet many (domestic and or international) students graduate with little or no comprehension of Indigenous knowledge systems or the protocols for engagement with the communities in which they are required to work, whether they be Australian or international Indigenous communities. Contextually, both PIA and the planning academe have struggled with coming to terms with this realm over the last 10 years. This paper will report on a recently completed Australian Government Office of Learning & Teaching (OLT) funded research project that has sought to improve opportunities to improve the knowledge and skills of tertiary students in the BE professions through the enhancement of their competency, appreciation and respect for Indigenous protocols and processes that also implicates the professional accreditation systems that these courses are accountable. It has proposed strategies and processes to expose students in the BE professions to Australian Indigenous knowledge and cultural systems and the protocols for engaging with Indigenous Australians about their rights, interests, needs and aspirations. Included in these findings is the provision of a tool that enables and offers guidance to BE tertiary students and academics how to enhance comprehension, exposure to, and knowledge and cultural systems of, Indigenous Australians. While the scope of this report is cross-BE, this paper will focus upon the planning practice, policy and academe realms.