Facilitation and design charrettes

Part of our value to a project is our ability to extract the ideas that will solve problems, remove obstacles and change practice. To do so, we run workshops to collect, prioritise and share the thinking of the key stakeholders.

For each project, our research synthesis strategy relies on an intense process of collaborative design and planning. We usually deliver this process as a group-think workshop, or charrette.

The workshop goal is to bring together our many research areas with government and industry partners, to develop innovative but practical ideas for addressing a specific challenge. It calls for open-minded and scientific dialogue, to prompt ideas that are:

  • innovative, using the latest thinking from academic and industry thought leaders

  • independent

  • practical (that is, do-able) and context specific

  • backed by evidence across a range of disciplines

  • co-designed, with buy-in and active involvement by key stakeholders

  • foundational to the stakeholder alliances and industry credibility needed for action.

We document the workshop ideas in a discussion paper for use by the project host, and for sharing with other interested parties.

The CRCWSC has conducted research synthesis projects in each Australian capital city, and in various regional cities and towns. Here are some examples of projects that developed impactful ideas:

Designing a smart model for residential water management

Designing a smart model for residential water management

The Aquarevo development shows how innovation and collaboration together can deliver major change in residential water management. Early in the development’s design phase, CRCWSC researchers worked with Aquarevo stakeholders to put our emerging research to practical use.

The Aquarevo development was a chance for the stakeholders to ‘walk the talk’ in coming up with a new model for water sensitive design and planning. Using its own land (a former wastewater treatment plant), South East Water worked with joint developer Villawood to create an urban development that demonstrates:

  • integrated water management at precinct scale
  • new water management products and technologies in practice
  • the value of government policy support and regulatory environments for water sensitive urban development.

Improving water sensitivity in the Sydenham to Bankstown growth corridor

Improving water sensitivity in the Sydenham to Bankstown growth corridor

Planning and verification have been intrinsic steps for improving the water quality and integrity of two precincts in the Cooks River catchment, which is part of a major urban growth corridor in Greater Sydney.

Current work in the Cooks River catchment shows the value of intensive planning and verification for urban water management at a precinct scale.

As part of this planning:

  • The Cooks River Alliance hosted a research synthesis workshop in November 2018 to develop and verify planning principles for the Sydenham to Bankstown urban renewal corridor. We combined our multidisciplinary knowledge with local understanding and thinking to develop practical ideas for development.
  • The CRCWSC facilitated the workshop consisting of multiple stakeholders including councils, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and Sydney Water. The workshop encouraged participants to consider how to apply the planning principles at the precinct scale so that redevelopment along the Cooks River corridor (and particularly the delivery of water services) improves the water quality in the Cooks River and the liveability of the communities.
  • Our CEO Professor Tony Wong presented at the inaugural Cooks River Catchment Congress meeting. The Congress aims to bring stakeholders together to plan for improving the health of the Cooks River and its catchment, as increasing population pressures require a rethink of how urban renewal and development are done.

Reimagining an old industrial site at Tonsley

Reimagining an old industrial site at Tonsley

The CRCWSC’s Ideas for Tonsley document puts WSC research and thinking to practical use as a test of urban redevelopment plans.

The CRCWSC developed ‘what if’ scenarios to test the master plan for redeveloping an industrial site at Tonsley in South Australia. Published as a document, the scenarios can also be used to inform further development at the site.The goal of this project was to provide an independent review of the Tonsley site and the master plan through the lens of our research results. For this reason, we wrote Ideas for Tonsley from the outcomes of a CRCWSC workshop that brought together our current thinking.

In summary, the Tonsley document articulates our thinking in a practical framework for applying to both Tonsley and other developments across South Australia. This framework of WSC directives aims to create a more liveable, sustainable and resilient Tonsley as an integrated mixed-use precinct.

Project stats


Tonsley, South Australia, Australia


Renewal SA
CRCWSC’s industry Partners


Design charrettes


Last updated: 22nd May 2020