The year-long debate over plans to insert an Apple global store into Melbourne’s Federation Square highlighted the challenges of distinguishing civic and cultural values from commercial intent, with the Apple corporation particularly apt at adopting the language of creative place-making to legitimise their claims on civic space. With Australian government increasingly drawn to public/private partnerships, questions arise over how civic space will be funded in the twenty-first century. A diverse range of speakers will contemplate and debate the future design and management of civic space in the context of limited government investment.


Tania Davidge 

Tania Davidge is an architect, artist, educator, writer and researcher.  She is interested in the relationship of people and communities to architecture, cities and public space. Tania is the co-founder of OoPLA (formerly OpenHAUS) and the president of Citizens for Melbourne, the public space advocacy group who ran the ‘Our City, Our Square’ campaign opposing the demolition of Federation Square’s Yarra building and its replacement with an Apple store.

Kate Shaw 

Dr Kate Shaw is an urban geographer at Melbourne University, with a focus on the cultures of cities and the political-economic and social processes shaping them. She is currently writing a book on the redevelopment of deindustrialised docks in rich world cities, titled The squander and salvage of urban waterfronts.

Jacky Bowring 

As Professor of Landscape Architecture at Lincoln University, Aotearoa New Zealand, Jacky teaches, researches, designs and critiques.  As a design juror Jacky has judged a range of competitions including the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial; Pacific Memorial; NZILA National Awards; Australian National Student Design Competition; British Council Student Award; and the Council for Educators in Landscape Architecture Awards.  Jacky is also on Christchurch’s Urban Design Panel, assessing proposals for the city.  

Ricky Ricardo

Ricky is communications manager at Oculus in Melbourne. He is a former editor of Landscape Architecture Australia magazine and former editorial assistant at Topos (Germany). Ricky regularly contributes to architecture and design publications and has a strong interest in design criticism and advocacy. Ricky was a co-creative director for the 2018 and 2015 AILA Festivals of Landscape Architecture.

Claire Martin

Claire Martin is a Board Director of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architect, a landscape architect and Associate Director of OCULUS’ Melbourne studio, a contributing editor of Landscape Architecture Australia, and a member of the Office of the Victorian Government Architect’s Victorian Design Review Panel and RMIT University’s Landscape Architecture Industry Advisory Committee.

Sarah Bekessy

Professor Sarah Bekessy leads the Interdisciplinary Conservation Science research group at RMIT University. She is interested in the intersection between science and policy in environmental management and is currently involved in an interdisciplinary range of research projects, including an ARC Future Fellowship titled ‘Socio-ecological models for environmental decision making’ and an ARC linkage project titled ‘Designing green spaces for biodiversity and human well-being’. She leads projects in two National Environment Science Program Hubs (Threatened Species Hub and Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub) and is a Chief Investigator in the European Commission funded project Urban Greenup, which seeks to evaluate nature-based solutions for cities. She co-developed the Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design protocol that has now been used by numerous developers, governments and non-government organisations to design innovative urban biodiversity strategies.

Jillian Walliss

Jillian is one of the Creative Director's of this year's Festival. She has over twenty years’ experience as a landscape architecture academic in Australia and New Zealand. Since 2007, she has taught landscape theory and design studio at the University of Melbourne. She has published extensively on the relationship between theory, culture, technology and contemporary landscape design practice. In 2016 she published the award-winning book Landscape Architecture and Digital Technologies: re-conceptualising design and making (co-written with Heike Rahmann). Jillian also writes extensively for the landscape profession, and in 2018 co-edited an Asian-focused edition of Landscape Architecture Australia. This work is now being developed into an edited book exploring contemporary Asian landscape architecture.

Mark Jacques

Mark Jacques is Director of Openwork, an office undertaking projects in landscape architecture, urban design, research and speculation. In 2015, Mark was appointed Professor of Architecture (Urbanism) Industry Fellow within RMIT's School of Architecture and Urban Design. Openwork operates in four modes: as a landscape architectural consultancy providing the design and documentation of public places; as an urban design studio providing input to plans and policies that will enable future public places; as a research lab, aligned with RMIT exploring counter-factual futures for the city and as a speculative office, investing consulting profits into undertaking the types of projects that no one has yet asked them to do.