Broome North - regional greenfield development

This townsite expansion project was co-designed by the community through an intensive and collaborative consultation process. The final design seamlessly reflects indigenous local knowledge with broader community aspirations. It utilises modern science to create an innovative and sustainable estate for Broome.

Project overview

Broome North is a residential project to the north of the existing Broome townsite. The estate spans 700 hectares and will eventually double the size of the existing town. It aims to be affordable, with a focus on climate responsive and innovative design to encourage its future sustainability.

Challenges and opportunities

The project is the result of a request by the State Government to develop 700 hectares of land for residential development in the North of the existing Broome townsite with a 12 month timeframe.

A tight deadline and the potential impact on the town in terms of additional residents meant significant engagement with the local community was a priority. It was necessary to understand the history and aspirations of the Broome community to ensure that any development reflected the Broome way of life and the way they saw the expansion of their town.

Participation process

To understand community aspirations, a four day Planning Design Forum (PDF) was held to develop a collaborative vision for the development of Broome North. Community and agency representation was extensive and included considerable input from a local Community Reference Group.

The goals of the PDF were to:

  • Identify what mattered to the local community and other key stakeholders in the development of the land;
  • Detail the issues, opportunities and values of the site;
  • Establish the overarching design principles for future development and how these can be incorporated into a Masterplan;
  • Agree on the best urban design and built form outcomes that celebrate the land's values;and
  • Prepare a final design concept that has the support of forum participants.

The PDF took place over four days and comprised of a tour of Broome, technical presentations by experts and a designing session done in real time with community participants. The final design was presented to the public for formal comment immediately following the forum and with the inputs from the community, the Shire and relevant agencies, the project team continued to address detailed matters and refine the plan.

The next iteration of the concept plan was presented at a Community Open Day held at the Boulevard Shopping Centre in Broome with almost 280 people attending. The comments received at the Open Day, together with continued collaboration with the Shire, the community and relevant agencies, resulted in further refinement to the District and Local Structure Plans submitted for Shire approval.

The success of this collaborative process was evidenced during the formal public consultation, with only twenty four submissions received, the bulk of which overwhelmingly supported the final proposal.

Aboriginal engagement

In addition to the PDF, we worked closely with the local Yawuru people to reflect the history and the stories of the area. Discussions with local Elders helped to inform the design of the project in a number of ways, i.e. the design of parks within the estate and retention of an environmental cultural corridor that reflected the songlines of the site. The local knowledge of breezes in the area prompted the purchase of micro weather stations to monitor the site, important when designing the lots to ensure natural breezes could be enjoyed by new home owners once build out had been completed by preserving the distances between homes.

Outcomes and benefits

Key outcomes of the consultation process included:

  • A co-designed future estate that reflected community feedback and aspirations
  • An environmentally sensitive estate that was accepted by the community (only 24 submissions were received during the formal comment period with the majority in favour of the development).
  • An estate that celebrated the cultural heritage of the site and incorporated the songlines into the landscaping design of the development (Magurr Park).
  • Artwork throughout the development reflecting the site's history and significance.
  • Incorporated local knowledge of the site and backed it up with empirical research for the design of the lots to take advantage of the local breezes.
  • A well planned expansion for the Shire of Broome for additional residents into the future.