At the recent Planning Institute of Australia ‘PIA’ (SA) Awards for Planning Excellence 2014, Fiona De Rosa from Balancing Act Adelaide was presented with the Cutting Edge Research and Teaching Award for the study of Dog Park Design. The study of dog park design resulted in a publication “Unleashed, a guide to successful dog parks” for the Dog and Cat Management Board of SA.
This study of Dog Park Design is unique in the South Australian context. It draws on and successfully integrates a range of design, health and animal behavioural discourses to produce a highly useful design guide for those planning dog parks in an urban setting.
By unravelling the complex set of interactions usually associated with enclosed dog parks, the study provides the necessary platform for a design-led approach for the development of such parks which is likely to avoid many of the issues that have been found to limit the effectiveness of existing parks in facilitating healthier lifestyles for people and their pets.
The document has been professionally produced, has a widespread application and demonstrates a high level of technical competence and relevant research. It is topical and timely, and will become more so as our population ages and the importance of companion animals is recognised more widely.
The judges believe that the study is an excellent practical example of a well-researched design-led approach to an important community issue, and a worthy award recipient (source: Division citation).
This award is part of my bigger journey to focus on the integration of urban planning and companion animals in urban environments. Cities are made up of both humans and non-human (pets) and we need to plan and design for both needs.