Dr. Simon Kilbane is a landscape architect and academic with more than 15 years of experience working and teaching across Australia, the UK, US, France, Peru and New Zealand.
His research and teaching explores the nexus between landscape architecture, ecological planning and urban design. He is interested in highlighting how Landscape Architecture can deliver on its promise of ecological design and environmental stewardship.
At UTS, Simon is a senior lecturer and the course director of the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (Hons) degree and lectures specifically on design, territory and ecologies. He also contributes to first-year landscape and architecture courses and has co-ordinated several global studios (including Paris and Barcelona in 2014; Germany and Denmark in 2016 and Singapore and Vietnam in 2017).
Simon recently completed his PhD entitled ‘Green Infrastructure: Planning a National Green Network for Australia'. This work focussed upon the spatial articulation of meeting a minimum 17 per cent of Australia’s existing bioregions as a new network of interconnected protected areas. Maximising connectivity between isolated fragments of existing habitat in protected areas is one of the crucial elements in preserving Australia’s biodiversity in light of climate cahnge and rapid land-use change processes including urbanisation.
Simon is registered member of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) and the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA).
Simon has a growing publishing record and regularly reviews journal articles.
Simon has presented at:
- AILA national conference, Brisbane, 2014 and Canberra 2016
- Fabos Conference on Landscape and Greenway Planning, Amherst, USA, 2013 and Budapest 2016
- 'Untaming the Urban' at ANU in 2016
- Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, Austin, TX, USA, 2013
- Society for Ecological Restoration Australia, Perth, 2012
- EcoSummit 2012 Conference, Columbus, Ohio, USA, 2012
- International Federation of Landscape Architecture Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, 2012
- 21st Teaching and Learning Forum, Murdoch University, Perth, 2012
- Ecological Society of Australia National Conference, Hobart, 2011
Can supervise: YES
Simon's research interests and teaching explore the nexus between Landscape Architecture, Ecological Planning and Urban Design.
Simon recently completed his PhD, entitled ‘Green Infrastructure: Planning a National Green Network for Australia’, Simon was supervised for the duration of his PhD by Richard Weller (Landscape Architecture, University of Pennsylvania) and Richard Hobbs (Landscape Ecology, University of Western Australia).
The PhD explored the potential of a design-led green infrastructure approach in an Australian context at multiple scales and sought to create ecologically and culturally resilient, accurate, measurable and visual designs. In so doing, the research highlighted the instrumentality of Landscape Architecture to work with and across these disciplines, articulating ecological science and policy intent.
Current research interests investigate the current and future role of the landscape architect in the city: this includes the potential of Green Infrastructure in urban environments and the translation of (landscape) ecological principles into robust design frameworks.
He advocates for a particular design-led approach as developed through his PhD which involves stages of mapping and ground-truthing and design charrettes and collaborative workshops.
Simon is keen to hear from potential research collaborators and welcomes enquiries to supervise graduate degree students.
Simon joined the Landscape Architecture program at UTS in its first year and oversees its coordination.
Simon draws upon his diverse work history and research interests and co-ordinates:
- Advanced Landscape Design 1: Honours #11191
- Territory #11176
- Landscape Ecologies #11183
Kilbane, S, Weller, R & Hobbs, R 2019, 'Beyond ecological modelling: ground-truthing connectivity conservation networks through a design charrette in Western Australia', Landscape and Urban Planning.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Abstract Globally, connectivity conservation projects exist across all inhabited continents. Typically created through Geographical Information Systems and modelling processes at regional and even continental scales, these projects are seldom evaluated or 'ground-truthed' for their potential application at the local level where land use is fully allocated and replete with human occupation. This article reviews the accuracy of one such continental-scale connectivity conservation network, the National Green Network, through assessment and redesign by a design charrette at the local scale in York, Western Australia. Breaking with traditional process, this research considered the National Green Network model not as a final plan, but as point of departure for an iterative adjustment and redesign process through the charrette and an additional detailed design stage. Commonplace in architecture and urban planning disciplines, the application of charrettes to connectivity conservation design offers the benefits of improving design accuracy and enhancing their potential for implementation through providing valuable feedback and iterative design adjustment. The fine-tuning conducted by this research enabled the design to factor in human land-uses and influences across complex landscapes, while considering in a critical manner cultural factors that could also influence the system's design and its success. The framing of the network as green infrastructure rather than as connectivity conservation in addition to further illustration by the landscape architect provided a spectrum of both ecological and cultural outcomes across the case study landscape, demonstrating potential impacts and opportunities offered through a series of spatially accurate and ground-truthed plans.
Toland, A & Kilbane, S 2018, 'City mega-models as literal and figurative visioning tools', Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Urban Design and Planning, vol. 171, no. 4, pp. 166-176.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2018 ICE Publishing. All rights reserved. While speculative maps and city plans have been the primary lingua franca for centuries to investigate and design the way urban centres and regions grow, this paper focuses instead on the role of large physical models of urban areas as a method for exploring and envisioning future urban strategies. The paper briefly traces their historical development from military and defence maquettes in sixteenth century Europe, through architectural models of the twentieth century, to the present day. Four contemporary examples of city mega-models in rapidly urbanising Asian cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Hanoi and Singapore - are then examined. These serve to illustrate the continuing role that physical models play as literal and figurative visioning tools for city makers, be they engineers, planners, landscape architects or architects. The paper posits that such models will remain an indispensable technique - tangible and tenacious in the city-making toolkit - despite an increasingly digital and virtual era.
The landscape architecture undergraduate programme at the University of
Technology Sydney introduced landscape infrastructure as a subject into its
curriculum in 2016. This subject contained two aims relating to the application
of landscape infrastructure to an Australian context, extending beyond its North
American origins. First, it aimed to identify and test the principles of landscape
infrastructure that could be 'generalisable' and that exist outside of site specifics
or a particular context. Second, it sought novel instances of its application in the
Sydney region. Principles were distilled through an evaluation of relevant literature and were then tested through two exercises.
The first required students to reimagine The GreenWay, a multifunctional
landscape corridor in Sydney's Inner West and part of a proposed metropolitanwide Green Grid network. Students then applied the framework of landscape infrastructure through design proposals in one of Australia's fastest-growing urban centres, Parramatta. The findings of this research distilled and clarified the definition of landscape infrastructure; demonstrated the inherent capacity of landscape to act as the conduit for multifunctional, flexible, localised and synergistic infrastructural systems; and highlighted its potential for application in an Australian context. This work supports landscape infrastructure's position to move beyond the integration of infrastructure within landscape and instead proposes that landscape itself is infrastructural.
A review of the UTS Landscape Architecture symposium and exhibition Sydney: A Landscape Architecture, June 12, 2015.
This paper outlines research regarding the planning and design of a bold new continental-scale Green Infrastructure (GI) for Australia, the `NationalGreen Network (NGN). The NGN is a design project that aims to augment Australias current limited protected area network and meet international and national policy targets. Such a system would improve the long-term resilience of the Australian landscape and its biota through a proposed trans-continental network of vegetated corridors spanning the Australian continent. This would provide mobility for species within a framework of additional habitat and the ability to counteract ecological fragmentation and climate change. To create the NGN, an iterative design-based methodology was employed over three scales that document the shift from conceptual to specific, from policy to practice. At the local scale, detailed design resolution in conjunction with stakeholders through a charrette fine-tuned and adjusted the NGN, reinterpreting its potential to enable multi-functional outcomes. While conceived primarily for protection of biodiversity, a GI approach enabled consideration of both potential ecological and cultural benefits of such a scheme through holistic landscape planning. This leveraged the original ecological aims and augmented the NGNs feasibility.
Kilbane, SJ & Kopinski, J 2016, 'Evolution and Evaluation of Contemporary Greenways and Green Infrastructure in Sydney, Australia', Proceedings of the Greenways and Landscape in Change Conference, Fábos Conference on Landscape and Greenway Planning, Szent István Egyetem, Budapest, Hungary, pp. 173-182.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Greenways are as diverse in their contemporary forms as the geographical
regions they sample. Within an Australian urban context this paper will outline
how greenways have added to their culturally focussed intentions of recreation
and active transport (Little, 1995; Walmsley, 1995) and could now be
described as 'green infrastructure'. Described by Benedict & McMahon (2006)
as essential and life-supporting, Australian green infrastructure follows
Europe's lead (Jongman, Külvik, & Kristiansen, 2004) expanding the
greenway remit to include vital hydrological functions (Ahern, 2007), the
provision of valuable ecosystem services (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment,
2005) and a range of essential ecological benefits for urban regions across
multiple scales. This paper begins by reviewing Sydney's open space and
greenway history, policy and planning and culminates with a detailed study of
its most recent greenway proposal, the Sydney Green Grid (Schaffer, 2015). As
a multi-functional green infrastructure this city-wide framework aims to create
a strategic open space network; to reinforce sense of place between citizens
and landscape; and to promote multifunctional environmental, health, social
and economic benefits. A series of drawings then explored one strand of this
network, the Mountains to the Sea greenway where the shift from large (city)
to small (neighbourhood) scale was explored in detail, revealing a potential
green infrastructure that offered a spectrum of critical ecological, hydrological,
cultural and transportation benefits. However, it also revealed the existing
complexities in implementing such a scheme in the contemporary city. This
paper argues that it is both timely and relevant that greenways be considered
and reframed as essential 'green infrastructure', however that such networks
must also be interrogated through mapping and design methods such as those
demonstrated herein in order to facilitate their implementation and adoption.
Kilbane, S 2016, 'New natures: Landscape architecture, ecological and urban design from the scale of the street to the region', http://untaming-the-urban.tumblr.com, Untaming the Urban, Canberra.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Kilbane, S 2016, 'New natures? Landscape Architecture and design for the 99.99999%', Not in my backyard - the 2016 International Festival of Landscape Architecture, Canberra.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Kilbane, SJ & Ming-Han Li, Editorial.Assistant 2013, 'Asking the Difficult Questions: The Importance and Potential of Landscape Architectural Design Research in Exploring Answers to Complex Problems', CELA 2013: Space and Time, Place and Duration, Conference Proceedings, CELA 2013: Space and Time, Place and Duration, Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, Austin, Texas.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Kilbane, S 2012, 'Green infrastructure: Planning a National Green Network for Australia', 49th World Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects, IFLA 2012, pp. 642-657.
This paper outlines research regarding the planning and designing of a new continental-scale Green Infrastructure for Australia. The 'National Green Network'(NGN) is a framework of vegetation corridors that reach across the entire Australian landscape. The network's purpose and function is to enable species to adapt to climate change, to sequester carbon, to secure riparian zones and to increase landscape health and amenity. For over 200 years Australians have exploited their landscape: now it's time to care for it. The research is underpinned by two broad principles. First, in accordance with the International Convention on Biological Diversity a minimum 10% of Australia's existing bioregions must be legislated as protected conservation areas; and second, that the future landscape planning of the Australian landmass endeavours to maximise connectivity between isolated vegetation fragments. These two principles are encapsulated in the form of an initially abstract 'grid'. This grid hypothetically allocates protected conservation areas evenly across the entire Australian landmass. Through a process of landscape analysis and landscape planning following ecological design principles the grid is incrementally adjusted to suit site-specific circumstances. This adjustment occurs over a chosen study area, a 1300 × 25 kilometre transect located in the south west of Western Australia. Crossing through 11 different ecological subregions, the transect functions as a test case of the network's ecological, political and economic viability. This paper outlines the concept and application of this National Green Network.
Entry was shortlisted in national design competition.
Kilbane, S, 'NGN', Drawing Landscape, ADC.
Beck, A, Bruce, A, Collins, G, Bennett, D, Frisby, M, Hall, P, Jones, R, Kilbane, S, Padgett Kjaersgaar, S, Mckenzie, S, Smith, P & Snow, M Australian Institute of Landscape Architects 2015, 15 Year Infrastructure plan for Australia: Submission by: Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, pp. 1-13.
Kilbane, SJ 2017, 'Green infrastructure: planning a national green network for Australia'.
This thesis regards the planning and design of a new continental-scale green infrastructure for Australia, the National Green Network. This research project aims to spatially illustrate key international and national environmental policy targets and to augment Australia's currently limited protected area network through a design that addresses multiple contemporary and future environmental challenges. Theoretically, such an infrastructure could help to sustain the Australian continent, its landscapes, biota and peoples through a robust and interconnected network of vegetated corridors spanning across the Australian continent. These are illustrated through a substantial creative component involving mapping and design work at multiple scales.
Kilbane, SJ 2016, 'Watch this (public) space', Architecture Media, South Melbourne, pp. 52-58.
Kilbane, SJ, 'Green Infrastructure as design strategy: Managing for ecological and cultural resilience across the Australian continent.'.
Kilbane, SJ, 'Green Infrastructure: Planning a National Green Network for Australia'.
This thesis presents research regarding the planning and design of a new continental-scale Green Infrastructure for Australia, the 'National Green Network'. This research project aims to augment Australia's currently limited protected area network and offer a design to address multiple contemporary environmental challenges. Theoretically, such an infrastructure could provide greater resilience for human and ecological
systems and help to sustain the Australian continent, its landscapes, biota and population, against present and future environmental challenges through an interconnected system of vegetated corridors spanning across the Australian continent.
A novel landscape architectural design-based approach explored and articulated the spatial implications of two key environmental policy and ecological theory aims that would theoretically safeguard Australia's biodiversity. First, in accordance with the United Nation's Convention on Biological Diversity and Australia's National Reserve System, a minimum 17% of Australia's existing bioregions must be legislated as protected
conservation areas; and second, that future landscape planning of the Australian landmass maximises ecological connectivity between isolated vegetation fragments. While the creation of protected areas and connectivity conservation hold widespread appeal and resonate with policy makers, these will not succeed without providing robust designs. Such projects are seldom evaluated or 'ground-truthed' for their potential
application at the local level where land-use is fully allocated and replete with human occupation. Breaking with traditional processes, this research posited the National Green Network model not as an end point, but as
a point of departure for iterative reflection and design adjustment over scales from the continental to the local. This research thereby offers the first ever expression of ecological policies and targets at the scale of the
nation. This process culminated in a desig...