wed 26 MAY 2021


Enabling the bees, mice and gazelles: tools to create and preserve affordable workplace in Enterprise Precincts


Emerging small and medium enterprises, such as creative industries and small scale manufacturing and production, are crucial to the productivity of our cities and in creating economically resilient communities. These businesses require affordable and flexible workplaces in high amenity neighbourhoods, in order to form and grow. However many of these ‘Enterprise Precincts’, often former industrial neighbourhoods, are under pressure to transform and densify, with these vulnerable companies at risk of untenable rents or displacement. A failure to preserve (or create) a wide diversity of affordable and flexible workspaces within designated enterprise precincts is likely to result a reduction in the economic diversity and strength of such precincts over time. What strategies exist to provide affordable workplaces as these neighbourhoods intensify?

This presentation will introduce the importance of emerging enterprises and the role of Enterprise Precincts in supporting them. It will outline the role new policy and reforms to the planning system in Victoria in order to protect and enable these precincts, such as the establishment of the ‘Commercial 3 Zone’. It will then outline the importance of affordable workplace to these precincts, and what affordability means in different locations and for different industry sectors at different stages of their life cycle. It will then look to case studies from global cities such as London, New York, Toronto and Vancouver which have all been grappling with a need to preserve affordable spaces for businesses in the face of gentrification and rising property prices. The presentation will conclude by examining a range of potential tools to facilitate the preservation and creation of affordable workspaces in Australian cities.

Mark Woodland MPIA

Echelon Planning

Mark Woodland is a Director and Co-founder of Echelon Planning. He has held public and private sector roles across Australia’s planning and development sector for over 25 years. Mark has expertise in regional-scale strategic planning as well as precinct scale masterplanning, property and development and approvals advice. Mark has developed a specific expertise and interest in emerging workplace trends, and their implications for the future planning of cities. He has provided advice to State and local government on planning for future employment precincts in a range of settings across Victoria and interstate.

Katherine Sundermann

MGS Architects

Katherine Sundermann is an Associate Director at MGS Architects, leading masterplanning and strategic studies for creative precincts, university campuses and urban renewal projects across Melbourne and regional Victoria. She is a studio leader at the University of Melbourne, running a studio MGS Place Lab: Co-creating Brunswick, which engages architecture and urban design students with the challenges and opportunities of fostering Enterprise Precincts in former industrial areas. She has completed a post-professional Master in Urbanism at TU Delft, focusing on regional design, performative urban design and collaborative planning.