TUES 25 MAY 2021


Putting place and design at the forefront of development: the Design and Place SEPP

The past 12 months have been a sharp reminder about how valuable it is to be able to spend time in the local park with the family or go for a run along the river (possibly without the family!). And how important it is that we can feel safe and inspired and nurtured while we’re doing these things, to look to our surrounding environment for some positivity and optimism while we face the difficulties and challenges of a pandemic. So how do we make sure that we leave a legacy for future generations that will ensure they too have the good fortune to live in places that have beauty and character; that are green, liveable and bring people together?


The Design and Place SEPP is intended to help us do just that. It aims to guide us all to design and prioritise healthy places for people, community and country. It aims to help integrate the things we value about the design of our local communities and our cities – including considerations like character, heritage, quality public spaces, thriving local areas that we can access easily, tree-lined walkable streets, parks, and environmentally sensitive, sustainable and comfortable buildings and spaces  – into policy that’s easily understood.


Abbie Galvin and Felicity Greenway are driving policy development today that looks to ensure far-reaching and positive impacts for the future of NSW. In this conversation, they will discuss the challenges and opportunities of creating a policy that proposes a new way of doing planning, design and development.

Abbie Galvin


Abbie was recently appointed as the 24th NSW Government Architect, and was previously a director and shareholder of BVN, one of Australia’s largest and most highly acclaimed architectural practices.

Abbie has worked for close to 30 years on public, educational, health, research and workplace projects that have been highly awarded, published and recognised internationally for bringing fresh approaches to common project types.

Projects Abbie has led have been the recipient of more than 40 state, national and international architectural awards including the RAIA Lloyd Rees Award for Urban Design Award, the RAIA Jack McConnell Award for Public Architecture and the RAIA Blackett Prize for Regional Architecture, in addition to personal awards such as the AIA Marion Mahoney Griffin Prize for a distinctive body of work in the field of Architecture.

Abbie is a firm believer that we benefit enormously from exposure to other sectors, that experts in their field always have something to learn from the amateurs and that that the core of innovation comes from cross-disciplinary expertise.

Abbie is passionate about the public domain, and the ability of architecture and our built environment to positively affect human behaviour, the way people interact, and the manner in which institutions and organisations operate.

Felicity Greenway


Felicity Greenway is Executive Director State Policies and Strategic Advice at the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. Felicity leads a number of key initiatives in the transformational Planning Reforms program aimed at creating a modern, responsive and user-friendly planning system for NSW. Felicity has over 20 years’ experience in planning, including oversight of planning processes for high-profile, critical infrastructure and assets at a state level, major assessments portfolios, and a number of significant policies. She has played a critical role in establishing new assessment policies to manage major changes in the development and infrastructure landscape, such as the long-term lease of electricity networks, wind farms and major projects. Felicity works collaboratively across the NSW public sector, industry and community to scope and deliver reforms.