Integrated design

Integrated design

Integrated design is a way of designing towns and cities so that policy, planning, good design and the everyday needs and desires of the people who live work or play there are considered and included. It’s a framework that takes into account the multiple perspectives and diverse needs of a place and guides the planning from start to finish.



Cities of the past were planned around defined zones, creating a ‘work’ zone – the CBD (central business district), the factory, etcetera, a ‘living’ zone (our suburbs), and a ‘rural’ zone (the green bit where farmers and livestock worked and lived). Now we realise that zoning has produced many of the issues we face today, such as traffic congestion when we empty the suburbs each day to travel to our jobs in commercial centres.

In the past, designers were often brought in at the end of the planning process after all the major decisions had already been made.

The principles of integrated design brings everyone together from the beginning – the designers, architects, artists, Councils, Government, builders, planners and community. Integrated design principles also recognise that every city and town has its own set of local conditions. ‘Conditions’ are specific histories and memories (personal, industrial, technological), geological elements and weather patterns, diverse cultural makeups, and patterns in food production. Focus on local conditions are key to the success of any integrated design vision and framework.

5000+ arose as a recommendation of 2009 Adelaide Thinker in Residence, Professor Laura Lee, who proposed that a future Adelaide based on an integrated design strategy will develop a prosperous and innovation-friendly 21st century capital city that is socially inclusive, vibrant and globally connected.

It was a national pilot that aimed to show how a collaborative process between design and planning professionals, different levels of government, business, industry and community could work to develop a great Australian city.