2017 International Festival of Landscape Architecture: The 3rd City

Sydney played host to this year’s 2017 International Festival of Landscape Architecture: The 3rd City, appropriate for a city that is internationally renowned as a vibrant pastiche of urban and regional landscapes. As custodians of the landscape, Sydney continues to stimulate conversation for the profession regarding the subconscious monologue of urban growth and the ever-blurring lines between the built environment and natural landscape.

A collection of events, exhibitions, and pop-up spaces were scattered around Circular Quay to raise the profile and celebrate the profession during the 4th International Festival. Fitting, albeit not at the request of the organisers, that Circular Quay was under-going a streetscape upgrade that created an oxymoronic tone – especially surrounding the Future Cities pop-up.

The conference demonstrated AILA’s spirit of enhancing international communication, fostering the exchange of research well beyond the boundaries of the Australian framework; the 3rd City Conference welcomed a global community of scholars and urban provocateurs. The two-day conference commanded a range of speakers from diverse backgrounds that included landscape architecture, architecture, urbanism, sociology, and science that provoked an intriguing conversation on the current and future milieu of cities from micro to macro scales. The program’s curatorial themes took inspiration from four concerns of the profession – eco-systems, infrastructure, community, and practice.

Detroit Fitzgerald Neighborhood Revitalization Project

This project creates a Central Park and Urban Greenway through an existing blighted neighbourhood using city-owned vacant lots. Lots were aggregated and developed to accommodate major open space improvement that is a part of a larger Landscape Stewardship plan led by SMM.

SMM’s current Fitzgerald Neighborhood Revitalization project was featured in an article on Curbed Detroit.

Read the full article here.


Elizabeth Mossop

Elizabeth, a founding director of SMM, recently returned to Australia from the New Orleans office to begin her role as the Dean of the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology Sydney.

Elizabeth Mossop recently gave keynote addresses at the New Zealand Planning Institute and the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NZILA) national conferences. Elizabeth has also recently been a juror for the Riversdale Design Competition for the Bundanon Trust and the NZILA National Awards.

Behind The Scenes

The Gong Ride 2016

We completed the annual Sydney to Wollongong ride for Multiple Sclerosis marking the 12th year of our participation in this event.

Sydney Rides Challenge

SMM competed in the City of Sydney ‘Sydney Rides Challenge’ over March. This is a points-based competition aimed at encouraging people in Sydney to get active, ride a bike and enjoy its benefits. SMM came second place in the category 20-50 employees.


Bobbin Head Classic

The cyclists of SMM again competed in the Bobbin Head Classic on 26th March, through the scenic Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and Bobbin Head. There are a number of distance options to choose from. Rider fundraising goes to Lifeline and number of other charities.

‘Pesu’ – NKA Foundation’s 2017 Land Art Competition

Eladio Hernando, Fergus McCarthy and Lewis Haig designed a land art sculpture entitled ‘Pesu,’ as part of NKA Foundation’s 2017 Land Art Competition. If successful, the team will be travelling to Ghana to build the sculptural landform along with the other top entries. The NKA Foundation runs art and mud house design projects in Ghana, Mali and Tanzania focusing on sustainable development and volunteerism.

Lodge Road – Under Construction

Another SMM designed cycleway is under construction on Lodge Road, Cremorne. North Sydney Council is one of few councils investing in cycleway infrastructure outside of inner Sydney and the inner west. The cycleway forms part of the strategic network between Cremorne and North Sydney aimed at encouraging people out of their cars.

New Sydney Office

The Sydney office recently moved to larger premises in Surry Hills. We can now be found at: 115 Flinders Street, Surry Hills

NZILA Small Urban Conference

Michael Spackman, Elizabeth Mossop and Doug Robb joined international speakers at the NZILA Small Urban Conference, 6th– 7th April, 2017 in Wellington, NZ . The conference has four themes: Opportunistic Urban, Wild Urban, Advocating Urban and Moving Urban. Michael and Elizabeth discussed community scale infrastructure using SMM projects as examples. Doug discussed the role Landscape Architects play in mediating conflicts between large-scale infrastructure and local communities.

Detroit Fitzgerald Community Greenway and Central Park

This project creates a Central Park and Urban Greenway through an existing blighted neighborhood using city-owned vacant lots. Lots were aggregated and developed to accommodate major open space improvement that is a part of a larger Landscape Stewardship plan led by SMM.

Welcome Nadira Yapa

Welcome to Nadira Yapa, joining SMM as a Principal. Nadira is an award winning urban designer and architect with a wealth of experience in urban design, infrastructure, master planning, public domain design, placemaking, infill regeneration and Transit Oriented Development. She brings to her projects a knowledge enriched by her local and international work, research and teaching, extending from Sri Lanka to Sweden, Brazil and Australia.

EPA Smart Growth Implementation Assistance for the Caño Martín Peña in San Juan, Puerto Rico

SMM is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s providing design assistance to complement the efforts of ENLACE, an environmental restoration and social justice initiative working with communities around the Caño Martín Peña (CMP). The focus for the project is the Buena Vista Santurce neighbourhood on the northern bank of the CMP tidal channel. The project is intended to help with the integration of green infrastructure into much-needed open spaces to address stormwater management for low-lying waterfront communities undergoing a major ecosystem restoration project.

Bowen Place Crossing receives multiple design awards

SMM in conjunction with Lahznimmo Architects, has been awarded multiple prestigious awards for Bowen Place Crossing. The project has won 7 awards including those from AILA, AIA, Planning Institute of Australia and shortlisted for the WAN International Transport Award. Described by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects ACT as “an excellent demonstration of how Landscape Architects can turn the utilitarian into the splendid.”

Located within Canberra’s Parliamentary Triangle, between the National Gallery of Australia and Kings Avenue bridge, the project replaces a dangerous at-grade crossing on busy Bowen Drive with a pedestrian and cyclist underpass, completing the final link in the ‘Bridge to Bridge’ loop around Lake Burley Griffin. Bowen Place Crossing was recently exhibited in the Rhode Island School of Design exhibition in the US.


  • AILA ACT Award of Excellence for design in infrastructure
  • AIA ACT 2016 Canberra Medallion
  • AIA ACT Sir John Overall Award for Urban Design
  • 2016 Australia Award for Urban Design, Delivered Outcome - Small Scale
  • PIA ACT 2016 Great Place award

Detroit Livernois McNichols Public Realm Plan

Detroit the former ‘Motor City’ is now being revitalised by sustainable initiatives including urban greening and active transport. The City of Detroit has engaged SMM to create a public realm plan for the Livernois/McNichols corridors in northwest Detroit. SMM is currently investigating the overall identity of the corridor, urban tree canopy, urban design, streetscape design, bicycle and pedestrian mobility, parking, renovation and future development opportunities, lighting, signage, critical nodes and gateways.