Integrated Design Commission funding scrapped

June 1, 2012

The South Australian Government axes funding for the Integrated Design Commission and Thinkers In Residence program.

The South Australian Government has scrapped funding for the Integrated Design Commission (IDC) and Thinkers in Residence program in the state’s new budget.

Launched at the end of 2009 by the then-premier of South Australia, Mike Rann, the IDC is an advisory team working with government, the design, planning and development sector, and the wider community to improve the built environment by promoting a design-led approach. The program was established following the research of Professor Laura Lee, a past Thinker in Residence in Adelaide.

Under the leadership of Commissioner Tim Horton, the IDC has worked across independent design panels and reviews, and launched initiatives including the Zero Carbon Challenge, a sustainable house design competition, as well as 5000+: a pilot project for city redesign and renewal, focusing on inner Adelaide.

The IDC was the first initiative of its kind in Australia, with a design review panel framework inspired by CABE – part of the Design Council in the UK, which works to promote the value of good design in improving the built environment. (For more, read our interview with Government Architect Ben Hewett from last year).

The SA Thinkers in Residence program, established in 2003, will wrap up in the 2012-13 financial year, once current Residents complete their programs. The IDC will cease its work at the end of 2012.

SA Treasurer Jack Snelling said of the decision: “When you have a very difficult budget, tough budget and you’re dealing with such a large revenue write-down, the Government has got to be seen cutting its cloth.” The 2011-12 budget for the IDC and Government Architect was $3.3m, now cut to $2.5m for 2012-13, he added.

The role of the South Australian Government Architect, introduced in 2010 and currently occupied by Ben Hewett, will remain.

DIA National President Oliver Kratzner was dismayed by the announcement, saying: “The Thinker In Residence programme and the Integrated Design Commission were beacons of enlightened state government that shone with the brilliance of Goran Roos, Martin Seligman and many others. Beacons that would now appear to be snuffed out by short term political decisions… From a design perspective, this is a shameful day for South Australian politics.”

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