DJB for AILA 2

Daniel Bennett

Registered Landscape Architect/Urban Designer

I am a landscape architect with 20 years experience shaping better projects for our cities.

Over the years I have learnt (and still am!) that a strong and leading advisory role on the integration of civic ideas, thought and pragmatism across many areas of work from high level urban policy to detailed landscape architecture and construction leads to better outcomes.

I have developed strong analytical skills which often enable a broad and comprehensive appreciation of a space/city/context and have realised that so often the greatest challenge is defining a problem, not solving a perceived one.

I’ve been doing this for a few years now in a capital city context and have demonstrated this approach on many projects.  I am naturally curious, and have a creative and innovative approach to design, often working in large teams. I have been able on a range of projects to rise above the normal to explore the opportunities and examine divergent and passionate thinking.

I was born and lived in Sydney, studying at UNSW and then graduating in the years leading up to the Sydney Olympics in 2000.  I left Australia, travelled a bit and landed a job in Scotland working in a design firm based on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

I returned in 2001 to Sydney, working for Johnson Pilton Walker in Pitt Street before moving to Adelaide in 2004 as a Principal of Hassell, leading the local studio’s landscape architecture and urban design teams for a wide range of multi award winning projects, forming the light rail design business with a few others within the firm.

In 2011, I left Hassell and formed DJB_LA Pty Ltd, winning and then leading the urban design project within a greater engineering team (lead by Arup) for the $2.2b Sydney Light Rail for Transport for NSW – driving strong contextual design outcomes for the project. This was followed by the Capital Metro Light Rail Feasibility Study in Canberra for the ACT Government, also lead by Arup.

Whilst I was working on the Sydney Light Rail I completed a study for the City of Sydney on people and light rail safety as part of George Street’s revolution from traffic sewer to a people and light rail boulevard.  This is still the subject of much debate in Sydney…it will change the city for the better, even if it has been a rocky road to get there.

In 2014 I joined the City of Adelaide and I am the Associate Director for Strategy and Design, leading two teams of strategic and design professionals across Design Strategy, Transport Strategy, Park Lands Strategy, Civil Engineering, Transport Design and Landscape Architecture.

I am responsible for the City’s three key design policies including Smart Move 2012-2022 (the integrated transport and movement strategy), the Adelaide Design Manual (the city’s urban design framework) and the Adelaide Park Lands Management Strategy (the world heritage listed Adelaide Park Lands). 

In my role at the CoA I engage at the highest level across a range of State Government agencies on a range of city and park land matters and projects.

I was a Director (2013-2016) and a Past National President and Chair of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), representing the national interests of the profession of landscape architecture and undertaking a complete reform of the organisation, increasing membership and celebrating AILA’s 50th year in 2016.

I’m married with three children and reside in the lower Adelaide Hills, tinker with classic old European cars, and I’m a bit of a modernist tragic.  I have convinced myself I will restore our c1976 split level house to its ‘Sydney bush school’ origins but am finding many reasons not to… and during the colder months I go a bit mad for the Sydney Swans AFL team.

I was honoured to be made a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects in 2016.

All opinions expressed on this blog are my own.

The following is a list of professional affiliations, invitations, projects, conference presentations, and media articles…

Professional Affiliations and Invitations

  • 2005-current, Visiting Lecturer and Critic, University of Adelaide, School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design
  • 2016, Fellow, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects
  • 2015-2016, National President, Chair, Director, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects
  • 2013-2015, National Vice President, Director, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects
  • 2016, Chair, Juror, AILA National Awards
  • 2015, Juror, AILA South Australian Chapter Awards
  • 2013, Juror, New Royal Adelaide Hospital Student Design Competition, SA Govt
  • 2013, Juror, National Public Domain Awards, CCAA
  • 2011, Juror, South Australian Architecture Awards
  • 2011-2015, Independent Member, Adelaide Hills Council Development Assessment Panel
  • 2010-2012, Independent Member, Capital City Design Review Panel, SA Govt
  • 2009-2013, Vice President of the AILA South Australian Chapter
  • 2003, Registered Landscape Architect, #1183

I have been a regular contributor to many publications including the InDaily, Adelaide’s independent online daily newspaper, 891ABC Adelaide, the Adelaide Advertiser, and Sourceable.net, an industry publication.

DJB_LA Projects


  • Capital Metro (Canberra’s Light Rail)//ACT Government.  Arup/Hassell/PB/DJB_LA
  • Sydney CBD and South East Light Rail//NSW Government.  Arup/Hassell/Aurecon/DJB_LA
  • People and Light Rail Study//City of Sydney.  Hassell/Arup/DJB_LA
  • Sydney Light Rail Environmental Impact Statement, Visual Assessment//NSW Government. PB/Hassell/Arup/DJB_LA
  • Linden Park Primary School Landscape Master Plan//Linden Park Primary School.  DJB_LA
  • Tanunda School Landscape Master Plan//Frenchenviro. DJB_LA
  • Springlake at Mount Barker Landscape Master Plan//Tanti Osborne Projects.  Branford Planning and Design/DJB_LA


  • 2015 Perth Max Light Rail Forum//Senator Scot Ludlum, Perth
  • 2014 Big Projects and Big Procurement//Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Festival of Landscape Architecture, Brisbane
  • 2014 Urban Design Conference, Adelaide
  • 2014 Designing Transport Systems for People//Australian Institute of Transport Planning and Management, Adelaide
  • 2014 UDIA SA//Transport Planning in Adelaide Forum, Adelaide
  • 2014 light rail 2.0: beyond the tracks//International Light Rail conference, Melbourne (Feb 28)
  • 2013 Hassell transport forum, Melbourne
  • 2013 Hassell transport forum, Perth
  • 2010 Gallopoli Underpass//Major Projects conference, Adelaide
  • 2009 Gallopoli Underpass//Alliance Conference, Sydney
  • 2009 thirsty, the perspective of a landscape architect//Stormwater Institute/AILA conference, Adelaide


  • Why not a department for pedestrians?//Indaily, April 28, 2015
  • A greener Adelaide needs more than just park lands//Indaily, April 9, 2015
  • Lessons in vibrancy from the 1940’s//Indaily, November 25, 2014
  • Let’s make public transport appealing//Indaily, August 11, 2014, http://indaily.com.au/design/2014/08/11/lets-make-public-transport-appealing/
  • Light Rail will allow Canberrans to rethink their city//Canberra Times, March 24, 2014  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/light-rail-will-allow-canberrans-to-rethink-their-city-20140323-35bf9.html
  • Fix the train stations and people will come//Indaily, April 16, 2014  http://indaily.com.au/opinion/2014/04/16/fix-train-stations-people-will-come/
  • If a tree falls in Adelaide, does anybody hear?//Indaily, February 12, 2014  http://indaily.com.au/design/2014/02/12/tree-falls-adelaide-anybody-hear/
  • Design Contests Foster Creativity//Indaily, December 12, 2013
  • How would you design Adelaide?//Indaily, October 30, 2013
  • Are Trams the Answer?//Indaily, October 24, 2013
  • Indaily Design Panel.  Adelaide
  • ‘Adelaide: Bordeaux of the South?’//Indaily, May 20, 2013
  • ‘Port Adelaide: Taken for Granted’//Indaily, February 4, 2013
  • ‘Port Adelaide: No Such Thing as Hopeless’//Indaily, February 11, 2013
  • Editor, Frequency, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (SA Chapter) journal, 2009-2014


  • Drive, 891ABC Adelaide, Michael Smythe//numerous
  • Afternoons, 891ABC Adelaide, Sonya Feldhoff//numerous
  • Seven News Adelaide//numerous
  • The Evening Show, 891ABC Adelaide, Peter Goers//September 9, 2014
  • The Plan, Radio Adelaide//numerous

Selected Project Experience

  • People and Light Rail Precedent Study//City of Sydney. Arup/Hassell/DJB_LA
  • Sydney Light Rail Strategic Plan//NSW Government. Arup/Hassell/Aurecon/DJB_LA
  • Sydney Light Rail Urban Renewal Anaylsis//NSW Government. Hassell/DJB_LA
  • Western Sydney Light Rail Planning and Urban Design Study//Parramatta City Council. Hassell/Arup/DJB_LA
  • 3 small parks//City of Unley. Swanbury Penglase/DJB_LA
  • Gallipoli Underpass//South Australian Government. Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure/Thiess/LEED Engineering and Construction/PB/Kath Moore and Associates/Hassell
  • Coast to Coast Light Rail//South Australian Government. Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.  Thiess/LEED Engineering and Construction/PB/Kath Moore and Associates/Hassell
  • Seaford Rail Extension//South Australian Government. Thiess/McConnell Dowell/PB/Aurecon/SKM/Hassell
  • City of Salisbury Landscape Plan//City of Salisbury. Hassell
  • St Clair Development, Cheltenham//AVJennings/Urban Pacific. Hassell
  • Rundle Street Upgrade//Adelaide City Council. Hassell/Greenhill Engineers
  • Port Adelaide Centre Vision and Urban Design Framework//South Australian Government, City of Port Adelaide Enfield. Hassell/Jan Gehl/Mike Cullen
  • 45 Pirie Street Forecourt//ING Real Estate. Hassell
  • Flagstaff Pines Estate//Adelaide Development Company. Hassell
  • Adelaide Zoo Framework Plan//ZoosSA. Hassell
  • Adelaide Airport T1//Adelaide Airport Ltd. Hassell
  • Dongsha Lake Eco Park//Suzhou Industrial Park Co. Johnson Pilton Walker
  • P2 Precinct, Sydney Olympic Park Plan//Sydney Olympic Park Authority. Johnson Pilton Walker
  • Modern Boulevard, Suzhou//Suzhou Industrial Park Co. Johnson Pilton Walker
  • Good Samaritan College//Catholic Church. Johnson Pilton Walker
  • Noise Wall Design Guidelines//NSW Government. Johnson Pilton Walker
  • Canberra Ave Noise Wall Concept//NSW Government. Johnson Pilton Walker
  • Science Road Streetscape//UNSW. Johnson Pilton Walker
  • Engineering Road Streetscape//UNSW. Johnson Pilton Walker


  • City of Adelaide, 2014-current, Adelaide
  • DJB_LA, 2011-current, Adelaide
  • HASSELL, 2004-2011, Adelaide
  • Urban Design Office, 2003-2004, Sydney
  • Johnson Pilton Walker, 2001-2003, Sydney
  • Turnbull Jeffrey Partnership, 1999-2001, Edinburgh
  • NSW Government Architects Office, 1997-1998, Sydney
  • Ku-ring-gai Municipal Council, 1992, Sydney

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