Our Services

Local Government

We provide strategies, plans, advice and evidence for councils in relation to major planning and urban design issues and projects.  Our work for local government includes:

Structure plans and built form/ urban design frameworks

We prepare plans to shape the development of urban renewal precincts, activity centres, industrial estates and surplus council land.  When these plans result in a planning scheme amendment, our senior team members provide supporting evidence at Planning Panels.

Example projects:

To discuss your project needs, contact Julia Bell at juliab@kinetica.net.au

Planning and urban design strategies

We prepare land use and development strategies to realise environmental, social and economic outcomes.

Example projects:

To discuss your project needs, contact Julia Bell at juliab@kinetica.net.au

Expert advice and evidence

We provide independent urban design advice on planning applications. Our senior team members provide independent planning and urban design expert evidence at VCAT hearings in relation to planning disputes.

Example projects:

To discuss your project needs, contact Alison Milner at alisonm@kinetica.net.au

Place Activation and Community Development

We bring a people-centred approach to developing place-based solutions for existing and emerging communities, with a bespoke set of skills in community development and place activation for greenfield developers.

Example projects:

To discuss your project needs, contact Julia Bell at juliab@kinetica.net.au

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Glen Huntly Built Form Framework

Glen Huntly is a major activity centre centred on a railway station. It currently has a rail level crossing at its heart which is slated to be grade separated.

We were engaged to prepare urban design analysis and built form testing to inform a built form framework for the commercially zoned parts of the activity centre.

We identified a series of urban design principles, level of change, preferred future built form character and guidelines for the study area that are reflective of the existing and emerging character, heritage considerations, responding to sensitive interfaces and the designation of the centre as a MAC. The Built Form Framework now forms part of the Glen Huntly Structure Plan and eventually planning controls.

Name: Glen Huntly Built Form Framework

Date: 2019

Client: Glen Eira Council

Eltham and Diamond Creek Activity Centre Structure Plans

There has been significant social, economic and environmental change since the Eltham and Diamond Creek Activity Centre Structure Plans were adopted in 2004 and 2006 respectively. Both town centres present a great opportunity to provide more housing and employment adjacent to public transport. However, the manner in which this is delivered needs to be carefully considered so as to not cause adverse urban design and amenity impacts.

We were engaged to conduct a review of the Activity Centre Zone (ACZ) in Eltham and Diamond Creek, and provide built form style guides for each township. We were subsequently engaged to update the Eltham and Diamond Creek Activity Centre Structure Plans, to ensure they continue to meet the curent and future needs of the Nillumbik community. Our updated Structure Plans will inform updated ACZ controls for each activity centre.

Name: Eltham and Diamond Creek Activity Centre Structure Plans

Date: 2018-2019

Client: Nillumbik Shire Council

Sunshine NEIC Urban Structure Analysis

The task

Kinetica, in partnership with Global South, is currently engaged to prepare an urban structure framework for the Sunshine National Employment and Innovation Cluster (NEIC). This project will establish a preferred urban structure framework and future character analysis for both the Sunshine NEIC and the Sunshine Metropolitan Activity Centre. On the opening of the Airport Rail link, Sunshine will be the closest major business district to the airport by rail, opening up great opportunity and growth. The framework will consider the future role of this well connected NEIC within a 20-minute neighbourhood context. It will maximise opportunities for existing and future residents and assess Sunshine’s neigbourhoods for the key ingredients of day-to-day living. The framework will also consider future employment and innovation opportunities in order to realise the area’s potential become the capital of Melbourne’s West.

The outcome

The project team are preparing a series of high-level coordinated plans to establish a preferred urban structure including overall patterns of land use and built form, and related urban design principles. These plans will consider change to 2051 across four horizons to 2025, 2031, 2041 and 2051. The framework will be informed by place-based analysis and a series of collaborative design workshops with Brimbank City Council.

Location: Sunshine National Employment and Innovation Cluster, Melbourne

Date: 2021

Client: Brimbank City Council

Postcode 3081 Urban Design Framework

Postcode 3081 is a suburb largely developed as the 1956 Olympic Games village, subsequently becoming public housing. It has been identified for urban renewal.

We were engaged to create an Urban Design Framework (UDF) to guide future residential growth and development in Postcode 3081. Our UDF defines objectives and strategies to shape a positive new, higher density character for the area, including treatments for interfaces with surrounding residential land.

The UDF was translated into a planning scheme amendment which has been reviewed by a planning panel. Julia Bell was engaged to peer review the planning scheme amendment (C120) and provide expert urban design evidence to inform its review by a Planning Panel. The Panel recommended adoption subject to changes.

Name: Postcode 3081 Urban Design Framework

Date: 2017

Client: City of Banyule

Manningham Liveable City Strategy

Manningham is a large middle-ring suburb in Melbourne.

We were engaged to lead a multi-disciplinary team to prepare an urban design framework (to be known as a Liveable City Strategy) for Manningham, which will guide the growth and development of the whole of the city up to 2040.

We developed a series of liveability indicators in order to assess the liveability of each part of the municipality. This was overlaid with an understanding of the distinctive built and landscape characteristics of each area to identify the most appropriate improvements to improve the liveability of each place. The resulting recommendations are wide-ranging, and include changes to the planning scheme to facilitate appropriate development and improve design quality, public realm improvements, development of Council land, promotion and advocacy.

Name: Manningham Liveable City Strategy

Date: 2020

Client: Manningham City Council

Aviators Field Use and Development Options

Aviators Field is a growth area in western Melbourne adjacent to a RAAF base.

We were engaged to assess the appropriateness of the proposed response to the RAAF base, and to provide urban design options for the interface buffer in the forthcoming Aviators Field Precinct Structure Plan (PSP).

We identified three broad land use concepts for the future Aviators Field PSP:

  • Residential – predominantly residential in nature and includes three different buffer design options to manage future potential land use conflicts;
  • Employment – employment uses related to the adjacent agricultural and airfield related land uses, capitalising on the synergy; and
  • Hybrid – employment uses related to the adjacent agricultural and airfield related land uses, complemented by residential uses close to the high frequency public transport network and forming an extension of the suburb of Point Cook to the north.


The inclusion of Aviators Field within the UGB has led to an expectation for it to play a predominantly residential role. However, our analysis determined that to appropriately respond to a multiplicity of opportunities and constraints, the ‘hybrid’ option should be preferred to give Aviators Field an economic and employment buffer role whilst also accommodating residential development as a direct extension of Featherbrooke Estate directly north of Aviators Field. This aligns with the expectations of strategic planning policy and responds to the unique traffic constraints presented by the development of Aviators Field.

This work will inform Wyndham Council’s position on how any potential land use conflict can be managed, and what types of land use can be incorporated in and adjacent to the interface buffer.

Name: Aviators Field Use and Development Options

Date: 2019

Client: Wyndham City Council

Urban design referrals

We are regularly engaged by local councils to provide an independent urban design assessment of planning applications for medium to high density development proposals.

We aim to provide clear and consistent recommendations in relation to matters such as building height and massing, public realm and neighbouring interfaces, and design detail, including recommendations on improvements and a clear urban design rationale.

Name: Urban design referrals

Date: ongoing

Client: various councils

Expert Evidence

We are regularly engaged by local councils to provide expert evidence to VCAT and Planning Panels in relation to the planning and/or urban design merits of planning applications and planning scheme amendments.

Planning advice and evidence on the highest and best use of land

We are regularly engaged to undertake a strategic planning review and prepare expert evidence expressing an opinion on ‘highest and best use’ to inform land valuation assessments and for the purposes of rates and taxes, having regard to the relevant planning policy and site context at a ‘relevant date’.

Examples include the Melbourne GPO and 190-192 Bourke Street, Melbourne, which were disputed at VCAT. Our expert evidence was required to consider and balance land use planning objectives with heritage controls, and to express an opinion on the highest and best use potential of the land in the absence of heritage restrictions and in the event that the land was unimproved.

Name: Planning advice and evidence on the highest and best use of land

Date: 2019, 2020

Lilydale Quarry

Lilydale Quarry is a major urban development site at the edge of the Lilydale township.

We were engaged to peer review the Lilydale Quarry master plan and to identify information gaps to inform Council’s assessment.

We found that the Draft Development Plan for the Lilydale Quarry outlines a compelling vision for the site, and the accompanying illustrative Master Plan and supporting virtual 3D model indicate that a high quality, integrated outcome is being sought by the developers. The proposal includes a number of laudable elements that are not always included or committed to by development teams.

However, we identified some aspects of detail as being insufficient.

Name: Lilydale Quarry

Date: 2019

Client: Yarra Ranges Shire Council 

Creating Place in Emerging Communities Training

Mitchell Shire and the City of Geelong are seeking to ensure that a sense of place is established early in the life of their new communities.

We were engaged to provide training as part of a capacity building exercise for Council officers in these growth area councils. Our training focused on the creation of place in emerging communities and the impacts on the lived experience of residents over the development lifecycle, including exploration of national and local best practice examples of early community infrastructure and place activation, partnership models and innovative funding mechanisms to deliver place early.

We provided resources and materials to support funding submissions for early activation, and to advance partnership models for pending PSPs.

Name: Creating Place in Emerging Communities Training

Date: 2020

Client: Mitchell Shire and City of Geelong

Smiths Beach Town Plan

Smiths Beach is a part of an agglomeration of four proximate beachside residential communities on the southern coastline of Phillip island that have provided a favored home and holiday location for many locals and Victorians.

The townships popularity, bred from its notable reputation as a destination for surfing for all abilities along with family friendly, patrolled beaches, has led to extremely high visitation levels in peak seasons, placing pressure on local facilities and infrastructure. In response to this, and following the key findings of engagement, we were engaged to prepare the Smiths Beach Town Plan (‘The Plan’), which will set the vision, objectives and priority projects in relation to:

  • Environment;
  • Land use;
  • Access and movement;
  • Public realm, Character and Facilities;
  • Social connection and Culture;
  • Services; and
  • Governance.

The community does not want to transform the sense of place but has identified a range of matters concerned with movement, connection, composition, character, governance, environment and service which could be further improved and enhanced to enhance safety, amenity and enjoyment of lifestyle and setting. The Plan will set a pathway to resolve challenges within the Smiths Beach township, in the context of the town’s unique context and organisational and community relationships.

The Plan will help guide community, agencies and Council to prioritise future initiatives and resources for physical projects.

Location: Smiths Beach

Date: 2021

Client: Bass Coast Shire Council

Why have we changed our name?

kinetica was formerly known as David Lock Associates (DLA).

David Lock Associates (Australia) Pty Ltd changed its name to Kinetica Studio Pty Ltd on 21 February 2020 to reflect the significant reinvention of the business.

Starting with the crystallisation of our vision and values, continuing with a transformation of our planning offer, and culminating in our move to a ‘grown up’ office in the CBD, we are no longer the business we were.

Paralleling these changes, we agreed with David Lock Associates Limited (the English business which gave birth to DLA Australia) that it is time to undo our formal corporate ties, while retaining a strong informal relationship.

This reinvention of the business needed to be expressed outwardly and we began the process of refreshing our graphic identity. DLA has been predominantly known for urban design expertise, and the name reflects our history as a satellite of an English business. A new name offered the opportunity to establish a refined brand, based on a home-grown organisation featuring planners and urban designers trusted for their expertise and independence.

Our new company name, kinetica, reflects our passion for change.  We facilitate and shape changes in the use, ownership and development of land to create a better lived experience.

kinetica retains the best of DLA—highly regarded independent urban design expertise—and combines it with highly regarded independent planning expertise.